INEC Chairman, Yakubu Under Pressure To Preserve Voting Model That Gives Northern Nigeria Political Advantage - IReporteronline
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INEC Chairman, Yakubu Under Pressure To Preserve Voting Model That Gives Northern Nigeria Political Advantage

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The Independent National Electoral Commission is set to establish more polling units across Nigeria as it has adjusted its thresholds for voting points and there is pressure on its Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, already to ensure the new model does not take political advantage away from the Northern region, SaharaReporters has learnt.

 

The adjustment, according to a letter obtained by SaharaReporters, reduces the lower and upper thresholds for voting points from 750 and 1, 000 registered voters to 500 and 750 voters respectively.

 

The commission made the adjustment in April at a meeting where it deliberated on the conversion of voting points to polling units.

 

Section 42 of the Electoral Act mandates INEC to “establish a sufficient number of polling units in each Registration Area and allot voters to such polling units.”

 

During the latest consultation with stakeholders, it was agreed that a polling unit should have no more than 1, 000 voters and no fewer than 750 registered voters.

 

According to reports, INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on March 2, issued the Guidelines for Expanding Access to Polling Units, which contain the thresholds for voting points agreed with the stakeholders.

 

A memorandum issued from the Director, of the Commission’s Secretariat, Maryam Iya Musa to its secretary, INEC/DE/No: 72/2021 read, “Decision extract on the amendment of the threshold for the conversion of voting points to polling units.

 

“The Commission at its meeting held on Tuesday 20th April 2021 deliberated on the above subject and approved as follows: The adjustment of the lower and upper thresholds for Voting Points from 750 and 1,000 to 500 and 750 voters respectively.

 

“That the ICT and Electoral Operations Departments and the State and Local Government Area offices of the Commission should adopt these new thresholds in implementing the ongoing programme of expanding voter access to polling units.

 

“You may wish to refer the extract to all Resident Electoral Commissioners(RECs) and Directors for information and necessary action, please.”

 

An INEC document obtained by SaharaReporters, titled ‘Electoral Breadown’, show with the move, a total of 119, 973 polling units, 57,023 voting points and 84, 004, 084 registered voters.

 

This is broken down into states and six geopolitical zones – South South, South-West, South East, North East, North West and North Central.

 

South South, with six states and a total of 12, 841, 279 registered voters, will have 17, 760 polling units and 9,366 voting points.

 

South West has 16, 292, 212 registered voters to 24, 672 polling units and 10,229 voting points. The South East, which has the lowest number of registered voters, 10,057,130, has 15,549 polling units and 6,082 voting points.

 

In the North, the North West which has the maximum number of registered voters in the country, 20,158,100, has 29,552 polling units and 12,119 voting points.

 

The North Central, including the Federal Capital Territory, has 13, 394, 634 registered voters, 11, 549 polling units and 11,681 voting points. Meanwhile, the North East, the zone with the lowest number of registered voters in the North with 11, 289, 293, has 16,460 polling units and 7,546.

 

The state with the highest number of registered voters is Lagos –6, 570, 291 and next to Lagos is Kano, with 5, 457,747 registered voters.

 

And while Lagos has 8, 462 polling units and 4,863 voter points, Kano has 8,074 polling units and 3,148 voting points.

 

Ekiti and Bayelsa states have the lowest figures for registered voters with 909,967 and 923,182 respectively.

 

However, a source in INEC told SaharaReporters that implementation will be particularly important as some people are already attempting to subvert the process to give undue advantage to the North.

 

The source said, “Professor Mahmood Yakubu has started a good thing with the formula he adopted for creating new polling units at INEC. Leading the INEC board, he directed that to simplify the creation of new polling units, voting points created from overcrowded old polling units should be converted to new polling units.

 

“The voting points are already known with locations and numbers, they have been tested already in on-cycle and off-cycle elections, nothing much will change by using them. But there are growing fears that Professor Yakubu is about to derail this simple and predictable solution.

 

“The solution is a predictable measure in which the only expected change will be to decentralise the new polling units from the voting points to areas closer to voters who walked long distances to vote at the old polling units in preceding elections, but at the last minute it seems he is being tempted by the narrow political interests that torpedoed the efforts of Professor Attahiru Jega (immediate former INEC chairman), and he appears set like Jega to flounder, fumble and flop, if he allows himself to be captured by these regressive forces.

 

“For over 25 years, INEC has been unable to do the simple de-concentration of polling units characterising election days, as new eligible voters that join the number of registered voters are cramped into the old polling units with voting population increasing and the numbers swelling. It became unmanageable in many Voter Registration Areas.

 

“At every attempt to create more polling units to manage these growing numbers, political elites, regional bigots and partisan voting machine middle men seize the opportunity to try to leverage their voting advantages. The consequence is strife, social and political upheavals and public outcry arising from mistrust. Professor Jega ruined it finally when he tried to impose 30,000 new polling units, using arbitrary criteria that disproportionately allotted more polling units to the Northern geopolitical zones, allotting more polling units to one zone in the North than two Southern geo-political zones put together.

 

“What INEC has schemed by the available data is to convert every polling unit where there are 1, 500 voters to be divided into three polling units which are equivalent to the voting points of the polling units containing 500 voters each.

But realising that this may spread the polling units more equitably, the regressive forces of old, are trying to influence INEC to raise the bar of criteria to 1, 900 voters instead of 500, in which case, less polling units will be created from many centres despite being overcrowded.

 

“Such a development will be explosive and politically hazardous because the voter registers of such states are often questioned with allegations that some of such polling registers were fraudulently populated with ineligible voters such as underage voters and foreigners from other countries.”

 

The source added that many stakeholders are monitoring INEC to see what directive it will communicate for implementation.

 

The source said, “Using the simple predictable formula will require INEC state office to list suggested new locations to de-concentrate the overcrowded polling units to ensure that number of voters whose registration addresses indicate that most of them come from far but similar locations can be used to optimise the new locations of the newly created polling units.

“It is left to be seen if Prof. Yakubu will decide to swim in the fresh calm waters or dive into the hot, salty and turbulent waters of polling unit controversy that almost consumed Professor Jega. If this is the case, we have to ask ‘why is the criteria of 1, 900 instead of 500 voters being consider for new polling units by INEC and if this new criteria will help INEC to achieve the goal of more manageable voter number per polling unit.”

Source: Sahara Reporters

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Politics

PDP’s Call To Restructure Nigeria Waste Of Time – APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday said that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum meeting held in Ibadan, was a waste of time, with no substance.

Recall that PDP Governors had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure Nigeria and convene an emergency meeting on insecurity.

They also advised Buhari to immediately send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to devolve more powers to states.

This, they said, would help states work out modalities for proper policing and also help to improve general security architecture.

But reacting, Sen. John Akpanudoedehe, National Secretary APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), in a statement said it was unfortunate that the PDP governors chose to engage in misplaced name calling and abuses.

According to him, the PDP also failed to seize a golden opportunity provided by the meeting to offer meaningful and patriotic contributions to the state of the nation.

He said it was disappointing that the supposed PDP governors’ consultative meeting turned out to be “a political jamboree and its outcome a waste of time, with no substance”.

He stressed that the efforts and records of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on revamping the economy and devolution of powers was visible and unmatched.

He added that the administration’s efforts at upgrading the country’s security architecture, governance and electoral reforms, addressing perennial farmers and herders clashes,and public sector reforms were also visible.

Akpanudoedehe recalled that President Buhari on May 20, 2020, signed an executive order on the implementation of financial autonomy of state legislature and Judiciary, which was rejected by the PDP governors.

He assured Nigerians that the Buhari-led government would continue to identify and partner with patriotic and well meaning individuals and interests in its determined efforts to make the country better while addressing its challenges.

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JUST IN: Osinbajo Finally Speaks On Rumoured 2023 Presidential Ambition

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Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said he has no connection with a certain online group mobilising support for him ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

Mr Osinbajo, who made this known in a statement issued on Monday through his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, has asked members of the public to disregard the group.

“The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a website: supportosinbajo. ng that is calling on Nigerians to join a volunteer group mobilising support for Osinbajo ahead of the 2023 presidential election.”

“Details of this website and the solicitation of the group are currently trending on WhatsApp with a suggestion that Osinbajo has “quietly” declared interest in the 2023 election.”

“The Office of the Vice President is not in any way connected to this website or the group behind it and considers such an enterprise an unnecessary distraction.”

“Osinbajo has not declared any interest whatsoever in the 2023 election; but he is rather focused on working in his capacity as vice president in the current administration to address all the compelling issues in the country and concerns of Nigerians, including finding effective and lasting solutions to the security challenges.”

“Therefore, we ask that people desist from such unhelpful permutations while we all deal together with the challenges confronting us as Nigerians, and resolve them for the benefit of our people, peace, and prosperity in the land,” he stated.

Osinbajo was picked as the running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections.

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APC Denies Releasing Timetable For Congresses, National Convention

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The All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied releasing timetable for its Congresses and National Convention.

National Secretary APC Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC, John Akpanudoedehe, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

“Our attention has been drawn to obviously coordinated and syndicated misinformation being circulated in some sections of the media on purported plans and timetable for Congresses and National Convention of the APC.

“This is the handiwork of political jobbers parading themselves as media sources.

“The media, party members and indeed the general public should be wary and completely disregard the misinformation, antics and schemes of these fifth columnists,’’ Mr Akpanudoedehe said.

He said the APC had never lied about its activities and had no reason to lie.

Mr Akpanudoedehe said that the consultative leadership style instituted by Governor Mai Mala Buni led CECPC had institutionalised the APC as a party of processes and internal democracy.

He said the committee was focused on delivering its mandate to recover, rebuild and reposition the APC ahead of 2023 poll.

Mr Akpanudoedehe said the committee was also focused on achieving peace and ensuring true reconciliation within the party to give a sense of belonging to all members.

The APC National Executive Committee, NEC, at its meeting Dec. 8, 2020 meeting gave the Buni-led CECPC until June 30 to conduct congresses and the National Convention.

The CECPC which was constituted in June 2020, following the dissolution of the Adams Oshiomhole-led Nation Working Committee, NWC, was initially given six months to reconcile various factions of the party.

The committee was also to ensure that aggrieved members of the party in court withdrew all litigations as well as conduct a National Convention for the emergence of a new NWC.

NAN

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