By Ben Agande
The Federal Government, yesterday, appointed Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi as the acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.
A statement signed by the Secretary of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Kaigama, said the appointment is in “conformity with Section 14 (1a) of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€œOf the three National Commissioners serving in the Commission at the moment, only Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, who is over 50 years old, has met this requirement, hence the basis for his appointment,” it added.
The announcement of another acting chairman for INEC has brought to an end two weeks of confusion in the commission following the directive that the erstwhile chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, should hand over to the most senior commissioner.
Following the retirement of the most senior commissioner, Chukwuani, along with Iwu, Mr. Philip Umeadi, who is the more senior of the two remaining commissioners was supposed to act as chairman.
But Iwu, who had a running battle with him refused to hand over to Umeadi. He instead chose to be meeting with Kaigama and other senior staff to prepare his handover notes.
In the last two weeks he has been seen in the commission headquarter three times and has met with the secretary of the commission, some staff but deliberately declined to meet with his designated successor, allegedly vowing that he would never hand over to him.
Until his appointment as acting chairman, he was a national commissioner in the commission in charge of Operations from Ogun state. He was appointed following the death of Mrs Kemi Odebiyi who died while in service.