JONATHAN STOPS SWEARING-IN OF ICPC CHAIRMAN
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday refused to swear in the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Chairman-designate, Francis Elechi, from Rivers State over what he described as 'disturbing calls'.
The President said Elechi will not be sworn-in until all issues raised against him are resolved. Mr. Nta Ekpo was asked to act.
Jonathan, who spoke during the inauguration of the board of ICPC in Abuja, stressed that his administration holds the opinion of people dear, hence, it will not do anything that will tarnish the image of the anti-graft agency.
The President warned that until corruption is dealt with, it will be difficult for the country to take its appropriate place in the Comity of Nations.
'Let me congratulate all of you for your appointment and thank you for accepting to take up the responsibility. Both ICPC and INEC are extremely sensitive bodies that you are not only watched by Nigerians, but by the whole international community, from today, you are no longer going to be people that are hiding.
'The moment you travel out of this country, they will be beaming searchlight on you, that is the cross all of us have to carry until we leave the board.
'For ICPC, it is a very sensitive body, I remember after the elections when I travelled out, some of the world leaders, who chatted with me said, Jonathan, we are very happy with the elections you conducted in Nigeria, but the remaining thing is corruption.
'Yes, we have done well in election and until the monster called corruption is dealt with in this country, we will still not get our appropriate place in the Comity of Nations.
'So, ICPC and EFCC are all bodies that must work day and night, that is why we took pains to select you, we believing that you will work very hard to complement what the EFCC is doing to bring down corruption.
'Please, that is the only thing that you will do that Nigerians both at home and abroad will move to dignity and pride wherever they go.
'The Chairman couldn't follow the oath-taking this morning, because from about Wednesday last week, I started receiving disturbing calls and reports and a body like INEC, ICPC and EFCC, the President should be very careful about the opinion of people.
'A minister can come in and go the next day, but INEC, EFCC and ICPC, you cannot gamble with it, and that is why when we were to inaugurate the board of INEC the same thing happened, there were protests that there were some PDP members. To make sure that people had a proper perception of INEC and to make sure that the perception is correct, we dropped those people. I'm not saying we are going to drop the Chairman, but we are going to look into the reports we have and reconfirm. But we will not do anything that will bring any stain to any of these bodies no matter how painful it may be to anybody.
'So, the Chairman is not taking his oath of office today, the SGF will formally write a letter, but Nta Ekpo will act until we sort out the issue of the Chairman, but he will get a letter from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) once we leave here,' he said.
Jonathan also swore in Amb. Lawrence Nworuku as a commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).The President also charged him to work with the INEC chairman to ensure that subsequent polls are better than what the country had in April this year.