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Published On: Thu, Oct 9th, 2014

Senate yet to debate new polling units – Saraki

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senate-chamber_anti_terrorism_billFrom Olanrewaju Lawal, Ilorin

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Dr Bukola Saraki has said that the Senate has not debated over the suspension of the new polling units created by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the country.

Saraki said the statement credited to Senator Andy Uba on the issue was the personal views of the lawmaker.

Saraki who made the clarification in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists in Ilorin via electronic mail urged Nigerian politicians not to interfere with INEC and the Nigeria Police Force.

According to the statement, Senator Saraki urged his colleagues that as legislators that “the same way we clamoured for politicians not to interfere with the Nigerian Police Force as an independent body, we should not also interfere with INEC”.

“In the last few years, Nigeria’s electoral process has been witnessing salient changes; to a high level, candidates and masses are certain that elections will be won based on votes cast and counted legally, this is a development that we must commend the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) for under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega.

“This development does not only give confidence to electorate, it also compels political office holders to perform in order to avoid been voted out; these are good developments for our democracy as a nation.

“This has been seen in recent elections like Osun election where the voice of the people was heard through their votes.

“However, as more developments are being introduced into the electoral system to ensure a more patterned and transparent election in 2015; it’s important not to tinge or handle electoral processes politically.

“As discussions are ongoing about the cancellation of new polling units created across the country, we must note that this must be the opinion of INEC as an independent organisation and not that of the Senate committee on Electoral matters. The position taken on the cancellation of the new polling units is a personal one and not that of the entire Senate as the Senate is yet to discuss this in the hallowed chamber

“With due respect to the Chairman of Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Andy Uba who is my good friend, Politicians must allow INEC to remain an independent body and not interfere in situation that will compromise the electoral body.

“Ahead of the 2015 general elections, I urge INEC to maintain its credibility by holding strong to the founding tenets of the organisation which is independent of any political group or party. I also urge the organisation to ensure it puts in all effort to ensure 2015 elections emerge the best on the ground of transparency, independence and fairness.”


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