Fresh controversy has hit the additional 30,000 polling units created by the Professor Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with allegation that it was created to rig the 2015 presidential election.
Indications emerged that the new units could be used to perpetrate electoral fraud in the 2015 elections. According to information pieced together by Sunday Tribune, the contentious new polling units could have been deliberately structured to rig the presidential election in favour of a particular political party and, indeed, in favour of the North.
According to those in the know, the new voting pattern, which Jega was spearheading with computerised permanent voter cards which though would not allow rigging to be perpetrated by politicians, had been concluded for the initial 120,000 polling units before the creation of the new 30,000 units.
“The old 120,000 polling units have been successfully computerised and since voters will use their computerised voter cards, card readers have been configured to sort out the voter cards and at the particular units where the voters registered.
“Such voter cards could not be used anywhere, because the card readers will reject them at the unit other than where such a card has been issued,” explained the source to Tribune.
But Jega’s 30,000 units, it was said, were not configured into the system. Therefore, anyone could use his/her cards in the new units.
The allegation being levelled against the INEC and some of its officials, according to sources who informed Sunday Tribune, is that with the North having been assigned 21,000 of the new polling units as against the South’s paltry 9,000, the commission would have skewed the result of the 2015 polls in favour of its preferred political party.
“There are 30,000 units which could accommodate any card unlike the initial 120,000 polling units which can only accept cards that have been registered at the units. You now have floating card readers in the 30,000 polling units. What can happen with 21,000 polling units where any card can be used to vote is better imagined,” revealed the source.
Since INEC announced the creation of additional 30,000 polling units, criticisms have trailed the idea. Although Professor Jega had, on various occasions, explained that INEC did it with good intention, major stakeholders insisted the commission erred by undertaking such an action, which even a committee of the Senate had declared illegal.
In spite of a court action instituted by political parties, especially Unity Party of Nigeria, Professor Jega has ignored such calls to halt the idea of new polling units, insisting they have come to stay.