Ambassador Rufus Akeju, Osun state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), has been requested to proceed on leave of absence – for his own safety and as his contribution to ensuring the credibility of the state governorship election scheduled for 9 August 2014.
The action taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came hours after it had been widely reported that he has not been removed or redeployed.
In a statement issued by Kayode Robert Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, Akeju was requested by the Commission to step aside against the backdrop of intense partisan acrimony over his person.
“He acceded to the request, knowing the effort being invested by INEC to make the Osun governorship election free, fair and credible. He has not been indicted for any offence, and the appeal by INEC for a stay of execution of the interlocutory order restraining the Commission from recognising him as Osun REC still subsist”.
The statement further read that, “For avoidance of doubt, Ambassador Rufus Akeju remains INEC’s substantive Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State. But another Resident Electoral Commissioner will hold fort for the period that Akeju will be away on his leave of absence.”
“The Commission hereby reaffirms commitment to spare no effort in ensuring that the upcoming Osun state governorship election is successful, and that it meets the best possible standard of credibility. It urges all other stakeholders to join in this commitment,” the statement read.