by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
The Senate, through its Committee on INEC, sent the advisory letter to Professor Jega to suspend the allocation of the new polling units which had generated so much controversy in the last few weeks.
The letter which was signed by the Committee Chairman, 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 fledging democracy”.
It will be recalled that the proposed polling units had caused uproar with many perceiving it as favouring the North which is believed to have less number of voters as against the South with mass turn out of voters during the Continous voters registration exercise. The controversy got to an head last week with Northern and southern leaders trading words and other pressure groups called for the removal of Prof Attahiru Jega as chairman of the commission.