INEC chairman, ACF disagree on conversion of Voting Points Settlements to PUs

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Laraba Raphael

Independent National  Electoral  Commission (INEC) has countered pan northern socio-cultural organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) advise to convert existing Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements into Polling Units(PUs) as practical and immediate measures to decongest and expand voter access to Polling Units.

The Secretary-General of the ACF, Murtala Aliyu (Mutawallen Gombe) made this known following a presentation by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

The ACF members were unanimous that the Commission should use its powers in Section 42 of the Electoral Act (as amended) to create Polling Units.

The INEC Chairman disagreed, pointed out that even though the National Assembly had the power to make laws, it still held Public Hearings.

Professor Yakubu argued that creating Polling Units in the past by fiat and without sufficient consultations resulted in debacles and controversies which the Commission wanted to avoid.

He said:” 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 emphasised, 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-ciltural organisations such as the Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo to harvest their inputs.

The presentation which took place at the ACF headquarters at No 11A Sokoto Road, 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.