Monday, 22 September 2014

Court asked to nullify INEC’s new 30,027 polling units

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to nullify the 30,027 new polling units recently created by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The plaintiffs, Ikogi Joseph Odumegwu Chinedu and Omotoso Nicholas wanted the court to restrain INEC from giving effect to the new polling units.
Joined in the suit as codefendant is the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

The plaintiffs through their counsel, Dr Olukayode Olatoke, SAN is asking the court to determined six pertinent questions bothering on the legality of the new polling units recently announced by INEC.
INEC and the AGF have yet to respond to the suit which was filed on September 10, 2014.
The plaintiffs asked the court to declare that INEC acted beyond its power under section 73 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution when it created the new polling units.
They argued that a fresh national population census had to be conducted before new polling units could be created and that since no such census was conducted, the new polling units were illegally created.
Plaintiffs also asked the court to declare that: “The act of INEC in creating more polling units for the northern part of Nigeria in utter neglect of the southern part is discriminatory and against the express provision of section 42 (1) (b) of the 1999 constitution.”
In an affidavit filed in support of the originating summons, the first plaintiff, Joseph said that INEC without any basis increased the number of polling units from 119,973 to 150,000 and arbitrarily allocated same to various states.
He stated that INEC, without justification, discriminatorily allocated 24,386 polling units to the north out of the 30,027 polling units and allocated the remaining 5,641 to the southern part of the country.
It was also averred that with the new polling units’ distribution, the 20 states in the north would have 83,607 polling units while the 17 states in the south were allocated 66,393 units.
Joseph said that there was no justification or any development to the voting regime in the northern part to justify that astrological increase to give advantage of about 14,000 polling units over the south.
Meanwhile, a group, Nigeria For Change, NFC, at the weekend said the additional polling units created by INEC were structural rigging.
The group said this in Ibadan while speaking with journalists during the meeting of its Board of Trustees, BoT, at the residence of Ibadan High Chief, Senator Lekan Balogun.
Balogun, the Chairman of the BoT and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP, lamented that “apart from the fact that the figures upon which the exercise was based was fraudulent, it will go a long way in distorting the statistics of the National Planning Commission, thereby making future planning difficult and actual population of the regions difficult to get”.
He carpeted the educated elites who are given trust for compromising and allowing selfish interest to override and defeat genuine purpose of their being called to serve.
Balogun said that the view had nothing to do with his being a member of a political party, noting that “what is happening has nothing to do with any political party in particular, everybody is guilty and depending on which side of divide you may find yourself.”
When asked about the future of the country in view of the attitude of the Nigerian youths seems to be at variance with the desired change, the Ibadan High Chief put the blame at the door-steps of the leaders and elders.
He insisted that “there are too many bad leaders who are serving as examples to the youths and younger generation, which accounts for the various unwholesome characters displayed by youths in the country”.
A member of the BoT, Mr. Tunde Olayiwola, added that the non-political group “is out to steer change in the attitude of middle and upper class in the society as they are often excluded in various government programmes, yet they pay more taxes to the government.”

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