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Senate Tackles INEC Over Controversial 30,000 Polling Units




Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

The Senate yesterday said that it may overrule the recent decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to create additional polling units of about 30, 000 across the Six . Geo Political Zones, if the Commission failed to heed its directive to halt the exercise.

Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Andy Uba (PDP Anambra South) ,  who gave the indication in Abuja yesterday, said the idea behind the creation of additional units was good but that the timing of the exercise was wrong.

He said, “We have sent a letter to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and we expressed our reservations over the planned creation of additional polling units across the country.

“What he 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?”If they (INEC) continue with it (new polling centres), we will pass a resolution to overrule it. It is simple, and once we pass our resolution,  is he going to go ahead that he doesn’t care?

“There are consequences when you say you don’t care, that is what it is but I know he (Jega) is a gentle man and he is a man that keep to his words we had a meeting and had sent him a letter.

“He should know that his integrity from what people are saying, is at  stake but that is not our business. And I don’t believe that there is nothing he has in mind against anybody or anything”

He however said that his committee does not believe that INEC has ulterior motive for the idea as being insinuated in certain quarters but just the timing.

According to him, “There are over 4000 registered voters in Wuse 2 in Abuja for instance and  you know the inconvenience when 4000 people are expected to queue up  in line. It is not possible for all of them to be accredited before voting would start. Many people will come and would be turned back.

“It (the exercise) is a good idea but the timing is wrong that is all we are saying. Nobody is saying what they did was wrong and some people are saying there is ulterior motive, there is no ulterior motives in it, that is not the issue.

“INEC needs time to educate people to let them know that their names had been moved to a different Polling Unit, but it is good idea because it will decongest these Polling Units, 500 names each, it makes things work faster but should be carried out after the 2015 elections already slated for February next year”

Senator Ubah also disclosed that the electoral act amendment would be concluded as soon as the senate resume from its current Sallah break.

“We are working on it and I am sure the Deputy Senate President who is the Chairman of that joint conference committee had said that by the time we come back we should be able to finish what we are doing”, he said.

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