The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has suspended its plan to create additional 30,000 Polling Units in the country following the controversy that greeted the move.
The electoral body had announced over 21,000 extra polling units for the northern states, and about 8,000 units for the south, saying the decision was based on the number of registered voters in the two regional blocs.
But INEC’s decision to create the additional polling units was criticized by Nigerians especially from the southern part, including the OHANEZE Ndigbo, an Ibo socio-cultural organization, who accused the Commission’s Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, of a hidden agenda designed to give undue electoral advantage to the north.
The group called for the immediate resignation Jega, insisting that creating the additional polling units if carried through at this time, would plunge the country into crisis.
Similarly, the Senate intervened by directing INEC to halt the plan until after the 2015 election.
The commission’s chairman argued that the move had no political coloration but that it was based on the population of voters.
However, the electoral body Tuesday suspended the exercise, saying it will take place at a later date after next year’s
Secretary to the Commission, Augusta Ogakwu, in a statement Tuesday said, “The Commission met today, Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, and reviewed reports sent in from States by 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 statement added.
INEC also stated that it will continue with the use of Voting Points, where necessary, to ease population pressure in overcrowded polling units during the forthcoming elections, adding that polling units will be relocated from unsuitable locations.
It added that the commission will as much as possible ensure that polling units are located in enclosures such classrooms, rather than in open spaces.
The commission had in August announced plan to create 30,000 PUs to bring the number of the PUs in the country to 150,000.