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Jega justifies distribution of additional 30 000 polling units

11 September 2014, 13:35

Abuja - Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said there was no sectional or parochial agenda in the commission’s decision to re-configure the structure and create additional of polling units nationwide.

Jega told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that INEC’s decision was driven by collective aspirations to improve upon electoral process for credible elections in 2015 and beyond.

He said since the current structure of polling units created in 1996, there had been an exponential growth in Nigeria's population and several demographic shifts, resulting in over-crowded units while new settlements were not serviced.

"This rise in population, with corresponding increase in the number of eligible voters was clearly manifested during the 2011 fresh voter registration,’’ he said.

Having subjected the data gathered from 2011 election to Automated-Finger Identification Software (AFIS) to eliminate duplicate registrants, Jega said that INEC certified the number of registered voters in Nigeria at 70 383,427.

"This gives an average of number of polling units to 119 973.’’

 He said that 150 000 units were approved by the commissionin to have less than 500 voters per polling unit.

He said that the simplest way to distribute the 150,000 units was to divide the number of registered voters in each state by 500 voters which is the maximum of registered per polling unit.

Jega said when the method was adopted based on existing polling units, statistics showed that some states already had excess polling units but were allowed to retain them.

"In fact the commission went on to give further relief to such states by providing that 15 per cent of the 30 027 additional polling units be distributed equally across all states, including the states that had already exceeded their numbers.

"This was in the spirit that each state should have, no matter how small, some additional polling units during this exercise in order to cater for new settlements due to demographic shifts.

"As a result, even the states that had exceeded their numbers, received additional 121 poling units over and above their retained excess,’’ Jega said.

The chairman said from the forgone, it was clear that the commission had used very scientific, rational and equitable criteria to distribute the 150 000 pulling units.

Justifying the adoption of the Post-AFIS as the baseline for calculating the number of polling units, Jega said eligible voters who were eliminated for one reason or the other should make use of ongoing continuous voter registration to re-register.

He said that with the structure of political process put in place by INEC, the number of polling units did not confer any political advantage on any state or region.

Also read: INEC sets up registration centres but no CVR extension

The chairman, however, pledged that the commission was committed and would continue to take patriotic decisions in the best interest of the country and voters.

-  NAN

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