The Nigerian Senate has told Professor Attahiru Jega, the National Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to suspend the now controversial creation of new Polling Units, PUs, across the country.
In what appeared to be its submission to the wish of the people, the Senate, through its Committee on INEC, noted that “there appears to be a general misconception that has generated controversies over the commission’s intention”.
It, consequently, advised “that the commission postpone the proposed exercise at this time, until after the 2015 general elections to allow for further review, adequate stakeholders consultation and buy-in of your good intention”.
The letter titled “CREATION OF NEW POLLING UNITS BY INEC”, which was sent to Professor Jega on Thursday, September 23, 2014 and signed by the Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, Senator Andy Uba, reads:
Creation of new Polling Units by INEC
“The Committee wishes to use this medium to express its confidence in the capacity of the Commission, in its drive to improve the electoral system in the country.
“The Committee has always been in full support of the reforms and policies the Commission has introduced in furtherance of its mandate to deliver free, fair, credible and acceptable elections in Nigeria. The Committee will continue to lend its support to policies and programmes that the Commission intends to embark upon towards realizing such reforms.
“The Commission’s intention to reconfigure the existing Polling Units to improve the election – day voting experience of the electorate is indeed a laudable and commendable exercise.
“However, the exercise is coming at a time that the 2015 general elections are imminent and there appears to be a general misconception that has generated controversies over the Commission’s intention.
“Consequently, the Senate Committee would like to advise that the Commission postpone the proposed exercise at this time, until after the 2015 general elections to allow for further review, adequate stakeholders consultation and buy-in of your good intention.
“The Committee will like to reassure the Commission of its full support on any of its policies or programmes that will further the Commission’s goal to enhance the quality of the electoral process to sustain our fledgling democracy”.
Information Nigeria reports that controversy had trailed INEC’s plan to create 30,000 additional Polling Units after it emerged that the distribution of the PUs seemed to give undue advantage to a section of the country over others.
The allocation showed that whereas some states in the North, which recorded less number of registered voters during the Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, got more additional PUs, some states in the South, with much more registered voters during the same CVR exercise, got less.
Of the 12 states in the country that got more than 1,000 PUs from the 30,000, only Lagos, which is in the South, benefitted. The other 11 states are from the North.