Political parties hail INEC over decision on new polling units

Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega
Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega

The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, and some registered political parties on Wednesday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for suspending its plan to create new polling units.

The electoral body’s plan to add more than 21,000 PUs to states in northern Nigeria and more than 8,000 to states in the south had stirred controversy.

INEC said it will suspend the plan until after the 2015 general elections.

They political parties were quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, as praising INEC and saying the suspension was in response to public outcry against the planned exercise.

Godson Okoye, IPAC’s National Publicity Secretary, said that INEC listened to the views of the people and their complaints.

Mr. Okoye, who is also Acting National Chairman of United Democratic Party, UDP, said it was a sign that good things had started happening in INEC.

“It is heartening that at least INEC has listened to the voice and complaints of the people.

“Like we say when the political parties were briefed, the idea behind it was beautiful, the concept was fantastic, timing is all that was.

“In situations like this, timing is everything.

“Run up to 2015 that predictions have been made as to the outcome, throwing something like this up some months to the election is something that will exacerbate the whole crises.

“So, having reacted the way Nigerians did and the political parties expressed their views and I think after considering all these, INEC in its wisdom has decided to suspend it.

“We commend them because it takes courage to realise the mistakes that have been made, it is courage to admit a fault and then say let move forward.

“We thank them for being reasonable and considerate. As we say, it is a sign that new things have begun to happen in INEC.
“It is no more a kind of envelope of situation where you say, ‘take it or leave it’.

“So we commend them and we believe it’s a sign of better things to come.’’

The National Chairman of Action Alliance (AA), Sen. Tunde Anifowose-Kelani, also said the decision was a demonstration that INEC management had listening ears.

“It shows that we have a cooperative and collaborative INEC, who is ready to listen to the views of political parties.
“It means that our quarterly meeting and now monthly meeting is justified; it is not a waste.

“And we are happy that INEC can change that stand by suspending the creation of new polling booths.

“This is a welcome development and it good. It shows that INEC is sincere and has an open mind.

“And we can be sure that we are going to have a free, fair and credible elections in 2015.It is a good sign.

“I commend Prof. Attahiru Jega and his team for the wonderful decision.’’

Also speaking, Ganiyu Galadima, the Acting National Chairman of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), said that additional polling units was good but the timing was wrong.

“I think the INEC chairman has done well by listening to the force of reasoning at least by suspending the action until after the election.

“But ordinarily, there is nothing wrong in INEC creating more polling units.

“The impact is, it will give more credibility to the elections.

“If you look at those that are criticising it, they have been polarised between North and South, between religious and political divides.

“Ultimately, if INEC did not reverse its self it could lead to the people casting aspersion on the 2015 general elections.

“I think, INEC has done well and it cannot in any way affect the outcome of the elections.’’

INEC had on Tuesday suspended its plan to create 30,000 additional polling units across the country.
The planned exercise was widely criticised.

(NAN)


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