By Charles Kumolu
AS the Federal Government considers who to appoint as the substantive chairman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), more groups have condemned the manner in which Mr. Solomon Soyebi was appointed as Acting Chairman of the Commission instead of Mr Philip Umeadi, the most senior National Commissioner as earlier directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The latest protest is coming from National Vanguard for Credible Election in Nigeria (NAVACEN) a non governmental organisation which described as unacceptable, the invocation of the 1999 constitution to usurp Mr Umeadiâ€™s right in favour of Solomon Soyebi service in the country.
â€œWe are shocked that the Federal Government could be deceived into taking an action that has the potency to alter due process in the administration of public service in the country. It is the tradition that the most senior officer is usually directed to take over the running of a public organisation whenever there is a vacuum pending when a substantive head is appointed.
In all such developments, no one talks of these qualifications unless it concerns the appointment of a substantive head.
This is applicable even in the military. So the idea of displacing one person for another in the manner the INEC issue is being handled amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul and that would set a bad precedence,â€ the group said.
The group which said it is only fighting for justice and fairness in the system in line with President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s commitment to due process like his predecessor late President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua, said that if not put under strict watch, politicians would do anything to advance their selfish interests even when such can destroy the nation and urged the president to be vigilant at all times.
Following the exit of the former chairman of INEC Professor Maurice Iwu from the Commission, President Goodluck Jonathan had directed that the most senior National Commissioner should take over the running of the Commission pending the appointment of a substantive chairman for the organisation in line with civil service rule.
Barely a week later, Mr. Solomon Soyebi was given a letter to take over as Acting Chairman on grounds that he is above 50 years of age. That appointment has been receiving hard knocks from the public who are calling for the reversal of the decision as according to them the action would alter due process in public service if it is allowed to stand.