MALACHY UZENDU, Deputy Editor, Abuja
INDEPENDENT National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday suspended the implementation of the controversial 30,027 polling units it recently created.
The commission had released a list of allotment of polling units which elicited sharp criticism, especially from the southern parts of the country over an obvious cheating in the allotment announced by INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, a northerner.
The south east geo-political zone in particular, was most marginalised and insulted by Jega’s distribution as the entire zone got polling unit allotment that was less than what Jega gave the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A further analysis of the allotment which shocked political analysts was how Jega provided for more polling units even in Boko Haram endermoc states and even territories which have been taken over by the sect and it was obvious that most of the people in such areas have either been killed, displaced or were playing hide and seek with the sect.
However, following outright condemnation of Jega’s parameters, he made a recant of his stand and suspended the move, till after the general elections next year. He refused to disclose if he would retain or outrightly cancel the controversial allotment.
Confirming the development, the secretary of the commission, Mrs. Augusta Ogakwu, stated: “The commission met today, Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, and reviewed reports sent in from States by the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on reconfiguration of the polling unit structure and creation of additional polling units.
“Taking everything into consideration – especially the controversy over creation of additional polling units that has been overheating the polity, and the apparent inadequacy of time for the exercise – the Commission took a decision to suspend the exercise until after the 2015 general elections.
“The Commission, nevertheless will continue with the use of Voting Points, where necessary, to mitigate population pressure in overcrowded polling units during the forthcoming elections.
“Also, it will relocate polling units from unsuitable locations and as much as possible, ensure that polling units are located in enclosures such classrooms, rather than in open spaces”.