The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has suspended the creation of additional polling units.
The Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Augusta C. Ogakwu disclosed this in an issued statement yesterday.
Ogakwu said the Commission met yesterday, November 11, 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.
She said accordingly, after 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 decided to suspend the exercise until after the 2015 general elections.
She said the Commission, nevertheless, will continue with the use of Voting Points, where necessary, to mitigate population pressure in overcrowded polling units during the forthcoming elections, relocate polling units from unsuitable locations; and, as much as possible, ensure that polling units are located in enclosures such classrooms, rather than in open spaces.
The electoral body had earlier announced the extra polling units (Pus), saying the decision was based on the number of registered voters in the two regional blocs of North and South.
The ratio brought INEC’s chairman, Attahiru Jega, under intense criticism with groups in the South-South, South-East and South-West geopolitical zones accusing him of bias, with some leaders calling for his resignation.
Defending the proposal, Mr. Jega said the distribution of the PUs was based on the existing voter’s register.
He said the plan was driven by the Commission’s desire to reform and improve upon the electoral process for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections in 2015.
“There is not sectional or parochial agenda in this decision and there will never be any under this Commission,” Mr. Jega had said.
“The basic aim of the exercise we are presently undertaking is to ease the access of voters to the ballot box in the 2015 general elections and beyond by decongesting overcrowded PUs and dispersing voters as evenly as possible among all the PUs.”