Senate orders Attahiru Jega to cancel new polling units

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The Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday said that it had written the commission to stop the implementation of the policy of creation of additional polling units across the country.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Andy Ubah (Anambra South), who disclosed this to journalists at the National Assembly, said that the letter was addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Asked what would be the reaction of his committee if the commission failed to heed the directive, Uba said that he was optimistic that Jega would comply with the directive. He, however, added that if INEC disregarded the instructions, the committee would be compelled to pass a resolution on the matter.

INEC had a fortnight ago announced the creation of an additional 30,000 polling units in the country to make it easier for voters to cast their votes.With the creation, there are now 150,000 units all over the country.

The decision, according to Jega, is meant to fulfill the commission’s pledge to decongest polling units.
Uba, however, described the additional polling units as a good policy, but said it was coming at a wrong time.

“What he (Jega) is doing is good but the timing is wrong. We are close to an election year and we have so many displaced people in the North-Eastern part of the country. So where will the INEC put the new polling units? Is it Wuse 2 where they have 4,000 registered voters?

“Nobody is saying that what they did was wrong and some people are saying there is ulterior motive, there is no ulterior motive in it.

“I know he (Jega) is a gentleman and he is a man that keeps to his words. We had a meeting and sent him a letter. He should know that his integrity, from what people are saying he is plotting, is not our business.”
The lawmaker said he believed that Jega had no ulterior motives by creating the additional polling units other than to give access to voters.

Uba stated that his committee’s major concern was that if INEC decided to implement the new policy, it would need more time to educate people, to let them know that the former polling units had moved to a different polling units.

He noted, however, that the good thing about the new policy was that it would decongest the polling units.

“When you come in you will get accredited and you will vote and go, but when you have 4,000 (people), that is a problem.”

Commenting on what the action of his committee would be in the event that INEC refuses to comply with the directive of the commission, Uba said, “If they continue with it, we have passed our resolutions. It is simple, and once we pass our resolution and he says that he is going to go ahead, that he doesn’t care, there are consequences when you say you don’t care, that is what it is.”

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