Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Ayo Oritsejafor has spoken of how Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega snubbed him. “Some people have told me that I am too small to meet with him (Jega),” Pastor Oritsejafor said.
The CAN chief spoke at a one-day interactive session of key stakeholders in the Nigerian project, comprising religious, political organisations and security agencies, organised by Think Nigeria Christian-Muslim Movement, with the theme: “Towards a peaceful and purposeful political transition in 2015”.
Pastor Oritsejafor said: “The General Secretary of CAN has the INEC Chairman’s number. He text him, saying the CAN President wants to meet with you on some days. The INEC chairman text back, saying those days were not good. So, Jega gave us two days to choose from and we chose one and he (Jega) accepted. I do not live in Abuja; I live in Warri, and so I had to make my plans to come here. All my plans were made and just as I was ready to come to Abuja, my General Secretary contacted me again that the INEC chairman (Jega) said he cannot meet with us, that he is too busy. When I asked him then what date did he give? He said no date was given.
“Till today, I, the leaders of all Christians in Nigeria, don’t have access to the INEC Chairman. I could not meet this man to have a discussion with him. Some of the things bordering us we wanted to share with him. We want to give him some solutions, suggestions, but that was it. No new date for us to meet with him. So, this is a problem that is why I am saying this now publicly. This happened a little less than two months ago. That disturbed me. The little people are begging him to look at our suggestions and act on them.
But Chief Press Secretary to Prof. Jega, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said he was unaware of any request by the CAN chief to see Jega which was turned down. “I’m not aware. I have a fair knowledge of the chairman’s scheduled,” Idowu said.
Dr. Oritsejafor added: “INEC is a necessary organisation that every nation must have. I am concerned about two things. One is on the issue of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). I have had it said several times that there are many Nigerians who are refusing to collect their PVCs. I beg to disagree on this because I sample this and the church I pastor in Warri with about 35,000 people and I asked them to show me their PVCs and I was shocked. I tell you and I lie not, probably close to half of my congregation do not have their PVCs.