By Ben AGANDE and Henry UMORU Abuja
After moments of anxiety following the refusal of the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Maurice Iwu to handover to the most senior commissioner as directed by the Acting President, one of the only two remaining commissioners in the commission, Barrister Philip Umeadi yesterday assumed office as the acting chairman of INEC.
In a statement yesterday, the commissionâ€™s Director of Public Affairs, Emmanuel Umenger said with the assumption of office by Barr. Umeadi, the assumed vacuum in the leadership of the commission has been filled.
Though Barr Umeadi who was appointed National Commissioner ofÂ INEC on September 6, 2006 is the most senior Commissioner, Professor Iwu refused to hand over to him.
However, an aide of the former chairman told Vanguard yesterday that Iwu did not refuse to hand over as reported by the media but needed further clarification before taking any step.Â The aide said the need to seek clarafication took Iwu to the Villa where the Acting President refused to see him.
Meanwhile, the new acting chairman of INEC has stopped all payments by the commission.
It was gathered yesterday that the letter ordering the stoppage of issuance of Cheques was dated April 30 and signed by the Acting Chairman, heÂ has also written to all Resident Electoral commissioners in the 36 states and FCT to obey the directive till further notice.
The Source which said that the Director of Finance and Account (DFA), Mrs. G.M. Gambele was acting on the letter, however complained thatÂ a top INEC chief ,Â Â was mounting pressures on her to effect payments on cheques back dated to April 28, the day, Iwu was asked to handover.
According to the source, ProfessorÂ Iwu who was yet to hand over officially to the Acting Chairman, Umeadi, has directed the INEC Secretary asking all directors to prepare their handover to be made by Tuesday, since Monday has been declared public holiday by the Federal Government.