Elections: Arewa Consultative Forum Supports INEC’s Move To Decongest Polling Units
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has described ongoing efforts by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to decongest and increase voter access to polling units as a practical step toward enhancing electoral credibility.
The group also believes that it is a way forward if INEC converts existing Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements into Polling Units (PUs)
ACF’s Secretary General, Murtala Aliyu (Mutawallen Gombe) gave the advice after a presentation in Kaduna by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
The pro-north group agreed that the Commission should use its powers in Section 42 of the Electoral Act (as amended) to create Polling Units.
A suggestion which the INEC Chairman disagreed with, insisting on the need for the electoral umpire to consulting widely before creating more polling units.
According to him, similar efforts in the past where INEC tried to create polling units by fiat and without enough consultations were misunderstood and rejected by stakeholders.
He also compared the situation to what was obtainable at the National Assembly where though the legislator had the power to make laws, it nonetheless conducts public hearing for such purpose.
” This is a democracy. And there is a place for consultation in a democracy.”
Professor Yakubu disclosed that the Commission had received more than nine thousand requests across the country by communities for the creation of Polling Units. He emphasized, however, that these requests were unsolicited and that they would not form the basis for the creation of Polling Units.
The INEC Chairman said the Commission will hold similar consultations with socio-cultural organisations such as the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo to harvest their inputs.
The presentation which took place at the ACF headquarters in Kaduna, coincided with its(ACF’s) statutory meeting.
At the meeting were two National Commissioners, Barrister Festus Okoye and Malam Mohammed Kudu Haruna. Also in attendance at the presentation were: The Chief Technical Adviser to the Hon. Chairman, Professor Bolade Eyinla; the Special Adviser to the Hon. Chairman, Professor Mohammad J.Kuna; the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Nick Dazang and the Administrative Secretary, INEC Kaduna, Lawal Mohammed Mashi.