Ahead of the 2015 General Elections the Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN Foundation) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stay actions on the proposed 30,027 additional Polling Units (PUs) till after the elections to calm frayed nerves and concentrate on other issues to enhance success of the elections.
Executive Director of the organisation Kemi Okenyodo who made the call today in Abuja at the public presentation of the “Fifth Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 Elections (July-September 2014)”, also said the call by the Acting Governor of Taraba State Alhaji Garba Umar that some politicians are trying to divide the state along religious path should not be ignored as it is indicative of the looming danger ahead.
“The creation of additional 30,027 polling units with a distribution of the North having more than half of the PU allocations led to the southern political leaders openly canvassing for the resignation or removal of INEC Chairman. INEC should shelve the creation. This may calm frayed nerves and make the commission to focus on preparation for the 2015 polls,” Okenyodo said.
When asked to comment on INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega’s explanation on the PUs, she however said the foundation board had approved the outcome of their report and that does not mater as the commission should have called the stakeholders it was calling now over the controversy the issue generated before making the PU issue public and that it is not good for INEC to be involved in such controversy months before the elections.
Also speaking on the new PUs African Director of MacArthur Foundation one of the organisers of the event, Dr Kole Shettima, said INEC was trying to do the rational thing in an irrational way and in an irrational country where everything is seen in parochial mind-set, adding that INEC should have been more programmatic and avoided putting itself in controversies.
He also said INEC release showing 78 percent for North-East ahead of other five regions in the collection and distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is of concern if the current state in the region is anything to go by.
Speaking further on the coming elections, Okenyodo said INEC has not been able to win the confidence of Nigerians as it is yet to complete voter registration/distribution of PVC and the glaring inability of government to replicate the massive deployment of security agencies as witnessed in the deployment of over 30,000 and 73,000 security personnel for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections respectively.
She also urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the constitutional and electoral act amendments barely five months to the elections, saying this may affect INEC’s already laid down strategic plans for the elections.
While calling for immediate amendment of the Police Act to enhance its professionalism and detach it from political prerogatives, she said the use of masked men as security during elections should be stopped as it poses a great threat to the 2015 elections, adding that it is commendable that INEC has also opposed such move.
CP G. Mohammed and CSP Thomas Nabhon in their responses said the Police and other security agencies are monitoring situations and developments and are also aware of the expectations of Nigerians.
“I believe the Police and other security agencies are up to the task. Let Nigerians be confident that we are up to the task and would ensure the success of the 2015 elections,” Nabhon said.
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