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Senators Tell Jega: You Talk Too Much; 'I was Misquoted,' - Jega

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA APPEARED BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY, OCTOBER 14, 2010, WHERE HE DENIED MAKING STATEMENTS THAT IRKED SENATORS.
PHOTO: PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA APPEARED BEFORE THE SENATE TODAY, OCTOBER 14, 2010, WHERE HE DENIED MAKING STATEMENTS THAT IRKED SENATORS.
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ABUJA, Oct 14, (THEWILL) - The Senate today put the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega on the slammer and pointedly told him to talk less and do more.

Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters, Senator Adego Eferekaya (PDP, Delta) warned him not to allow his usual worries to lead him to say things that are not necessary.

"These your worries that make you talk, one has to be careful about what you say and how you say it. You should have taken stakeholders into confidence instead of going to the press. People who are advising you are not looking deep enough, that was what happened even in your budget," the senator said.

The advice was against the backdrop of reports quoting Jega of accusing the National Assembly of undue delay in the passage of the time extension legislation. He was subsequently summoned to the Senate to clarify his alleged statements.

But the INEC boss stoutly denied ever making such statement as quoted in the media; "I want to say there is no iota of truth in those reports," Jega told senators. "I have always understood the requirement of my job as Chairman of INEC to be that which requires dialogue, consultation and respect for all those with whom I have to partner for the success of this exercise.

“Therefore I was certainly concerned when the news reached me that certain things have been reported in the newspapers and those reports have forced the Senate to invite me to clarify. I want to say that there is no iota of truth in these allegations; there is no where either in the report that are I have been referred to or anything that I have said so far where I have made any of these assertions.

"It is on record that I have always shown appreciations and commendations to both executive branch and the legislature for their demonstrated commitment to assist INEC in the assignment to bring about free fair and credible elections. Every opportunity I had, I had expressed this. This is also on record as a matter of fact.

"In my history, I am not a blackmailer, I have never blackmailed anybody and I certainly will not descend to the level of blackmailing people whom I respect. I'm also not an alarmist and I am certainly not a frivolous person, I make no frivolous statements and assertions. In fact since I assumed the position of the chairmanship of INEC, given the sensitive nature of our assignment at the commission, I have always chosen my words carefully. And I've always ensured that whatever I do, I show respect to those who deserve respect.

"I have not said all those things that I was alleged to have said. I think what has happened is that the statement that I have made; some of which were quoted direct, were taken out of context. It is true that we as a commission met with a delegation of heads of EU and Missions to Nigeria and I made a power point presentation to them. There is both audio and video recordings of that.

"I think what has happened was that brazen headlines were created taking the story out of context … and presented what I did not actually say. I think, perhaps lightly, I should say here that if there is anybody that should be invited to explain, it is probably those who wrote those headlines in those newspapers because we know that sometimes headlines are written in order to sell the papers and for me that probably may be the explanation in this regard.

"I am aware that the success of this assignment is predicated upon the support and cooperation and assistance that we can get from both the executive branch and the legislative branch and I must say as a commission that we have been satisfied and indeed very happy with the level of support and cooperation that we have got from both executive and the legislature. "I have never and will never make statements which are contrary to the realities and facts of the situation", the INEC Chairman told Senators.