NLC Commends Jega's Appointment
ABUJA, June 09, (THEWILL) - Following the nomination and ratification of Professor Attahiru Jega as INEC Chairman by the council of states, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in a statement said it was delighted to have him as Chairman designate of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Central Labour organization said it derives excitement from the fact that Prof. Jega possesses the requisite competence, integrity and patriotism as he was a member of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee that made very far-reaching recommendations that majority of Nigerians believe will ensure that their votes count.
"It is therefore perfect wisdom to appoint him as he is conversant with the core sentiments of the Committee’s Report. Thirdly, the appointment pleases us because of Prof. Jega’s character, particularly in distinguishing himself in whatever positions of trust he had held but which has not stopped him from being progressively active and forthright even against government," the statement said.
While commending President Goodluck Jonathan for the appointment, Labour however said the battle to put in place a credible INEC is not yet over, adding that it has just begun.
"The NLC still strongly believes that this commendable appointment does not vitiate the logic of the core recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee. As altruistic as President Jonathan’s nomination is, we are particularly still of the strong opinion that the process for the appointment of INEC chair as recommended by the Committee is preferably more in the public interest because of its capacity to insulate the appointment to this very important position from manipulation in the future especially by an ambitious president whose intentions may be anything but patriotic," the statement signed by the NLC President, Abdulwaheed Omar read in part.
The NLC further stated that the question of financial autonomy of INEC is highly imperative at this time so that the new INEC chair would hit the ground running given the enormous responsibilities awaiting him especially in cleaning up the messed-up electoral register and other critical logistics that will ensure a smooth general election in 2011, stressing that it was highly imperative that Prof. Jega gets a team that is competent, upright and non-partisan so as not to sabotage any effort at rebuilding an INEC that is genuinely independent.
The NLC while accepting to give the new leadership of INEC under Jega every support it needs to accomplish credible elections, it wants to put it on record that the NLC will not hesitate to speak out any moment INEC under Prof Jega is seen to have gone against public interest, adding that the new INEC Chair should immediately begin an internal reform or cleansing process in INEC that will position it to face the immediate challenges of holding a credible election in 2011.