Has Umeadi Just Found his Voice?

Phillip UmeadiActing National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr. Philip Umeadi, was reported to have said that the out-going National Chairman of the commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu, did not hand-over to him as directed by acting President Goodluck Jonathan, because Iwu was not comfortable with him as his acting successor.

Umeadi told THISDAY that he did not have a friendly relationship with Iwu while the later was still chairman because he (Umeadi) detested his methods.

“Iwu is not my friend. I did not let the public know this and I kept quiet because of the system we run,” he explained.

Yet many view the move by Dr. Jonathan Goodluck to appoint Philip Umeadi, Jr.,” an electoral commissioner with a fraudulent past and reputation”, to step into Iwu’s shoes as “deeply disturbing,”

Many in the pro-democracy movement expressed their horror at the hints that Jonathan planned to ask Philip Umeadi, Jr. to be the next INEC chairman as INEC’s most senior commissioner; Victor Chukwuani was also forced on a disengagement leave.

“Philip Umeadi and Iwu are, in fact, in the same league in terms of their openness to fraud and corruption,” said a source whose group monitors elections in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.

Saharareporters revealed that Umeadi was rusticated from the University of Benin for cheating in his exams. They also say that Umeadi, Jr., whose father was an eminent lawyer, also had a well-known history of drug use.

Phillip Umeadi behaves like a typical Nigerian whose survival gene tells when to run and when not to and in reading the psyche and mood of Nigerians, Phillip is playing his survival card (IWU IS EVIL) but who were his apostles?

Phillip Umeadi is not the answer to the bastardized electoral process that Nigerians and their leaders say is the bane of the electoral process. 

Reacting to speculations that there were plans that the out-going chairman may transfer power to National Commissioner for Operations, Mr. Solomon Soyebi, instead of him, Umeadi said: “How can Soyebi be made acting chairman? He was appointed national officer in August 2007 after his assignment as Resident Electoral Commissioner for Abia and Lagos States. I came in September 2006. The records are there for everyone to see. In any case, my assumption of office is a presidential directive,” he said.

In any case, should it matter who referees a football game? Any time a referee becomes visible in a game, maybe even more than the player, something is wrong.

The next INEC chief should be invisible (not the same as inconsequential).

It is funny to learn there is so much jockeying to become the next INEC chairman. Are we not headed towards another precipe?

Who remembers the head of US or UK equivalent of INEC chief? Interestingly, No ONE seems to know. I don’t even know the name of the UK electoral body!!!

Jonathan, on April 27, directed that Iwu should proceed on pre-disengagement leave with effect from April 28. He also directed that Iwu should hand-over to the most senior national officer.

Iwu’s tenure officially ends on June 13, having been appointed INEC Chairman in 2005 by President Olusegun Obasanjo. He was before then, a national commissioner.

Statutorily, INEC has 12 national commissioners. Nine completed their tour of duty last year and the vacancies were yet to be filled before President Umaru Yar’Adua took ill late last year. Of the three left, Mr. Victor Chukwuani, Commissioner for Legal Duties, was also instructed to proceed on pre-disengagement leave, leaving Mr. Solomon Soyebi, National Commissioner for Operations, and Mr. Philip Umeadi.