The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, has described a proposal by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to create 21,000 additional polling units for northern Nigeria as against the slightly above 8, 000 given to the south as a “political coup” against the south.
The council said the move is designed to perpetually give northern Nigeria political advantage over the south.
In a statement issued by its spokesman, Eric Omare, Saturday, the youth council alleged that with the 2015 general elections around the corner, the plan was to deliberately cause instability in the country.
“It is common knowledge that in Nigeria, the more polling units that is allocated to a particular area automatically results in more voting population whether the population exists or not,” the group said.
The IYC described the allocation as “lopsided” and said the explanation offered by the Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, is “feeble” and shows that “there is no justification for the so much disparity in the number of additional polling units between the south and north other than a hidden agenda to politically empower Northern Nigeria”.
The electoral body had announced the creation of more than 21,000 new polling units for the north and more than 8,000 for the south, saying the decision was based on the number of registered voters in the two regional blocs.
But Mr. Jega has come under intense criticism from southern geopolitical zones and who accuse him of bias, and have called for his resignation.
Mr. Jega rejects the call, saying critics are not well informed about details of the distribution.
The Ijaw Youth Council, the umbrella body of all Ijaw youth organizations, accused the INEC chairman of a hidden agenda against southern Nigeria.
“The case of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with less voting population having more polling units than the whole of South East is a clear case in point. Also, is Professor Jega telling Nigerians that the North West has more or equal voting population with the whole of Southern Nigeria?” the group asked Saturday.
“Furthermore, the arrogant posture of Prof. Jega in responding to the call for his resignation by the leaders of Southern Nigeria clearly shows that he is carrying out an orchestrated agenda by vested interest in the North to destabilise the country and the Jonathan administration ahead of the 2015 elections.
“Prof. Jega has no justification to defend this patently biased and potentially dangerous proposal to politically empower the North to the detriment of the South, if not to destabilise the country,” the statement read.
The group said Mr. Jega has violated his oath of office, and called on President Goodluck Jonathan and the Senate to remove Mr. Jega from office.