Parties Reject Jega's Controversial Polling Units Move Against Pro-Jonathan groups
Leaders of political parties Tuesday met with chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega, advising that the controversial 30,027 additional polling units be scrapped.
The parties also warned the electoral umpire on the dangers of allowing amorphous groups campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan, saying such clearly breached Section 221 of the constitution.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that at the meeting between Jega and his top Commissioners, on the one hand, and leaders of the political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the INEC boss vainly attempted to justify the creation of the additional polling units.
“Jega spent over six hours trying to sell the idea to us. This didn't work. He claimed it was a mere administrative exercise. We countered that the parties should have been carried along before embarking on such a political exercise.
“Apparently he called the meeting in the face of the firestorm his decision has created. Beautiful as it may seem, we pointedly told him to reverse the decision and wait until after the 2015 elections before creating a single additional polling unit,” a party official present at the meeting volunteered.
Confirming the meeting, an officer of the council said the INEC chairman was full of apologies for taking his council for granted, and promised to consult more in the future.
On the pro-Jonathan groups, the parties accused Jega of failing to invoke the powers vested in INEC to prosecute electoral offenders.
“We drew his attention to Section 221 of the constitution which prohibits political activities by associations other than registered political parties,” he said.
Section 221 reads, “No association, other than a political party, shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election”.
Said the officer, “We have been witnesses to the obnoxious political activities of some groups under various funny names. This is a criminal offence for which they should be appropriately sanctioned.
“Mr. President himself should know better having sworn to uphold and defend the constitution of Nigeria. He cannot be seen to be looking the other way while these funny groups blatantly use his name to breach the constitution.
“His party, PDP, is the only organization that may canvass for votes on his behalf- so long as it falls within the 90 days prior to election stipulated by the electoral Act. To act otherwise is to breach the constitution, which on its own is an impeachable offence,” he declared.
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