Professor Maurice Iwu vows not to hand over to Umeadi

Monday, May 3, 2010

Professor Maurice Iwu

Written by Idowu Samuel

The presidency is about reversing its instruction on the handover of baton by the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, to the most senior in rank within the commission, following Iwu’s resolve not to carry out the instruction.

A fresh report from INEC indicated that the former INEC boss was now to hand over to the man Jonathan asked to proceed on pre-disengagement leave with him, Mr Victor Chukwuani, at a handing over ceremony scheduled for Thursday at the INEC headquarters.

Iwu’s resolve not to allow Umeadi to take over from him had started causing storm in INEC amid palpable apprehension by staff, who were at the moment at a loss on who to take instructions from.

Iwu, the Nigerian Tribune can report, had never been comfortable with the arrangement that he should hand over to Umeadi, with whom he was engaged in underground battles and had convinced the presidency on the need to reason with him.

The outgoing INEC boss would have laid his grievances against Umeadi to Jonathan during his purported  visit to the Presidential Villa last week, but for the schedule of the acting president which prevented the two of them from discussing the matter.

According to the latest scoop, Iwu had complained about Umeadi, currently the INEC Commissioner in charge of Information, with a list of the grievances he had against him, advising Jonathan to allow Chukwuani to be in charge of INEC in the interim, pending the expiration of his service period.

With the discussion Iwu reportedly had with the acting president, the outgoing INEC chairman managed to draw attention to the fact that Chukwuani was erroneously asked by the presidency to proceed on pre-disengagement leave with him.

According to report, Iwu told Jonathan that by the letter of appointment of Chukwuani, he was not supposed to disengage from service the same day with him, since he was employed by INEC at a later date.

Iwu reportedly canvassed that while he would be on leave, Chukwuani ought to remain so as to stabilise INEC, pending his disengagement and appointment of a substantive chairman by the government.

From reports reaching the Nigerian Tribune, the presidency, all things being equal, might issue a fresh directive on Tuesday to ask Chukwuani to stay back.

The INEC had, on Friday, issued a statement to indicate its alignment with the initial directive issued by the government, as it announced that Umeadi had taken over the affairs of INEC.

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN) in the last general election, Chief Sunny Okogwu, has taken a swipe at the removal of Professor Iwu as INEC chairman, alleging that Acting President Jonathan did not follow due process.

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