Missing polling booths' data: Nsukka people demand REC's sack
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) began the registration of new voters in Enugu State yesterday but the exercise fraught with irregularities and disfunctioning machines, did not go down well with the people of Nsukka, as a group under the aegis of Nsukka Democratic Awareness Forum, has called for the suspension of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr. Lawrence Azubuike.
The group, led by its Coordinator and traditional ruler of Opi Kingdom, Eze Williams Ezugwu, made the call yesterday in Enugu during a press conference, insisting that Azubuike should be investigated over the allegation that he compromised his official position to deny the people of Enugu North their voting rights.
In the same vein, the state Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Vita Abba, had last week raised the alarm that 621 of the 2,945 polling booths in the state had disappeared from INEC records, and accused the REC and some politicians in the state of moves to shortchange Nsukka, where the governorship slot in 2015 had reportedly been zoned.
Abba also said of the 280 polling booths in Nsukka Local Government Area, 230 were missing from INEC records.
But Azubuike defended himself and INEC, saying the disappearance of the booths and names from the commission's records occurred when the machine carrying out central automation in Abuja detected some errors in 10 states across the federation, Enugu State inclusive.
This notwithstanding, Eze Ezugwu and his people insisted that Azubuike should be suspended pending the completion of investigation of the allegation levelled against him, saying if found guilty, he should be dismissed from service and criminal prosecution instituted against him.
'We are calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to order the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to direct the Enugu State Electoral Commissioner to conduct a proper voter's exercise to ensure that the people of Enugu North (Nsukka) Senatorial zone are not disenfranchised.
'Enugu North (Nsukka) Senatorial zone is one of the largest populated areas in the country. This is added to the fact that the zone has suffered neglect in terms of the number and quality of federal and state appointments in recent years. Mr President, we the Enugu North people are feeling marginalised and the tragedy of the lost voters' register has compounded our woes.'
'Today, every strategy to disenfranchise the zone is being applied knowing full well that the zone is currently agitating for the governorship position in 2015 in Enugu State.
'We also dare to assert that disenfranchising Enugu North is automatically putting the next election in danger of losing electoral numbers from the zone, knowing full well that the zone has over 50 per cent of the total voting population in Enugu State,' he said.