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INEC Chair: Presidency contacts Belgore

*Ribadu also on list*Obasanjo favours Soyebi

By Ben Agande
ABUJA—AUTHORITATIVE Presidency sources told Vanguard, yesterday that former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore, had been contacted for the top job at the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
But it was gathered that he had not given a definite answer as to whether he would be ready for the assignment, which explains why other possible candidates were being considered.

On why the former CJN may be appointed, the source said: “Belgore is sufficiently insulated from partisan politics to be able to conduct a credible election without allowing politicians to influence him.”

Justice Alfa Belgore( rtd)

A source in the Presidency said that the consideration being given to the former Chief Justice was because as a former CJN, he was likely to insist on conducting a credible election.

The source said: “He has his name at stake and would not compromise it at this level. That is what he has going for him. We are aware of his age and he may not want to be actively involved again in public life. That perhaps explains why he has not been forthcoming in saying whether he would be available or not.”

Vanguard learnt that the name of who would become the new chairman of INEC will be forwarded to the Senate before the National Assembly proceeds on its annual recess next Thursday.

Soyebi favoured by Obasanjo

Although the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, was still being favoured for the job, the current acting chairman of the commission, Prince Solomon Soyebi was also said to be favoured by some power brokers in the Presidency led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The source said: “The President wants to send the name of the chairman of the INEC to the Senate for confirmation before the National Assembly goes on recess next week. “Although some people are pushing strongly for the appointment of the former chairman of the EFCC, there is a school of thought that argued that because of his antecedents, some entrenched forces would sabotage him if he is appointed INEC chairman just to prove a point. This is one snag about his candidacy.”

It was further learnt that the acting chairman of the commission, Prince Solomon Soyebi may be the surprise choice for the position because of his experience on the job and the alleged backing of former President Obasanjo.

Vanguard gathered that his supporters argued that in view of the short time between now and the next election, it was imperative to choose someone who had some experience in the conduct of election to occupy the position of the INEC chairman.

President Jonathan is expected to forward the name of his nominee for the position to the National Assembly as soon as he returns from his visit to France next week.


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