INEC Chairman insists on favouring the North
Why National Assembly must understand the issues and not be taken for a ride
In this piece, which is a continuation of the national service to ensure that Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and its national chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, do not surreptitiously engender a policy that deliberately hands numerical superiority of Polling Units, PUs, which Nigeria’s Supreme Court described as “roots which nourish the whole electoral process”, to the North, further investigations have uncovered the details of the warped allocation process.
Mercifully, Jega’s visit to the National Assembly ended on a note that senators would study the figures and make up their minds. Yet, every explanation by Jega has blind-sided the real issues and further exposed the real and perceived under-pining raison d’etre for the lopsided allocation.
By Jide Ajani
Jega’s blatant lie or crass ignorance
Does the number of polling units confer political advantage on a state/region? The answer simply is ‘No’ – Professor Attahiru Jega, defending his illegitimate and lopsided allocation of Polling Units.
For an acclaimed professor and activist election manager of repute, it is either Attahiru Jega chose to barefacedly lie about, or is ignorant of the wonderful potentials for political advantage that a lopsided allocation of Polling Units, PUs, confers on a state/region.
Perhaps, blinded by a need to justify his mandate on the issue of PUs, Jega’s spirited efforts at defending the indefensible only continue to pour cold water on his every move.
To help Jega, Sunday Vanguard went as far as sourcing for and getting portions of a Supreme Court judgment which pooh-poohs his claims.
The pronouncement of the Supreme Court, in Ajasin vs Omoboriowo’s case, January 8, 1984, as per Mohhammed Bello (JSC), declared that “polling booths (which make up PUs) are the base of the pyramid which forms the electoral process under the provisions of the Electoral Act….the booths are the roots which nourish the whole electoral process (and the manipulative parts thereof)…”.
The highest court in the land dwelt extensively on what it called the “manipulation” and “rigging” that polling units can be used for in determining the outcome of election.
New PU allocation in practical terms means the provision of voting facilities for 500 eligible voters. This means that when a state gets 1,000 new polling units it has new facilities to accommodate 500,000 eligible voters.
In practical terms, it means that INEC has prepared new facilities for over 500,000 new voters in each of some 11 states in the North that already have more than 1,000 new PUs, and only Lagos in the South
The latter explanation means that the beneficiary states must have increased their previous figures of eligible voters by about 500,000 eligible voters. Evidently, this is not the case from the outcome of the Post-Business Rules figure of the beneficiary states in the North.
More significantly, Borno and Yobe states got 1,333 and 790 new PUs. These are states with over 400,000 internally displaced persons who have moved to several states in the Middle Belt and mainly to the South.
That is not all.
The curse of selectivity
When you choose to engage in an argument and you believe and, therefore, insist that others are not equipped to read between the lines because of your seemingly saintly sense of propriety, you’ve got something else coming.
In INEC’s rebuttal of accusations of sectional bias in the creation of new PUs, the Commission embarked on wanton waste of public funds by publishing a speech which some have derisively condemned as lacking both in substance and depth in so far as the real issues are concerned. Take, for instance, the issue of figures.
INEC deliberately and understandably failed to publish its declared 2011 Registered Figures and, more importantly, the outcome of the Post-Business Rule that shows clearly the massive reduction of figures across the 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Instead and attempting to be clever by half, the Commission chose to use the Post-AFIS figures without showing the progression from declared figures which, by its own admission, contains names of eligible voters but with incomplete registration data such as absence of biometrics and facial image.
This return to Post-AFIS figures was deliberate on the part of the INEC spin-doctors given that the Commission’s clean-up of the register has brought daylight into the magic of many states that claim high population figures.
The question to ask Jega is, why did his Commission choose to use data that it did not employ for Anambra, Ekiti, Osun and would not be employing for the coming Adamawa State governorship election?
Mind you, INEC would not also be using post-AFIS for the 2015 election.
In addition, the Permanent Voter Card, PVR, is based on the Post-Business Rule and not Post-AFIS.
More, INEC, by its own admission and based on returns, has been able to establish that it issued less PVCs than the figures in the Post-AFIS data.
So, why did it publish the figures therein to deceive Nigerians?
That is not all.
Does it then make sense to increase the number of Polling Units in many states in the North where INEC regionalist proponents have allocated whopping new Polling Units at the expense of almost all states in the South?
DISTORTIONS AND FALSEHOOD
But this re-enforcement of the lie, is the foundation of the distortions and falsehood peddled in INEC’s feeble attempt to explain its disproportionate PUs allocation.
Because INEC is yet to conclude CVR in 12 states, Jega should explain to Nigerians why the Commission was in so much haste to allocate PUs.
The table below exposes the lies that INEC has been trying to cover up with very little success.
PLAYING WITH FIGURES FOR CONCEALMENT
INEC tried to conceal the facts by publishing state by state allocations to make it look as if there were insignificant changes; by disaggregating the whole into current number of Polling Units per state, the disproportions were swallowed up making it look as if most of the states had almost similar or proportionate Polling Unit allocations.
A simple subtraction of the change in existing Polling Units to the current number per states after the new allocations reveal the following disparities:
11 out of the 12 states which got over 1,000 new PUs are in the North.
States such as Katsina, Kano, Niger, Kaduna and Zamfara, just like the FCT, each got more new PUs than the entire South-East.
All the five states which got 121 new PUs, namely Anambra, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Enugu, and Osun states, are in the South – allocation of 121 units only means the states got basically nothing, because all other states got 121 PUs before further new allocations were made
Imo State got 154 new PUs (almost nothing) whereas states in the North like Kebbi and Adamawa, which are at par with Imo State in terms of the Post-AFIS figure of eligible voters (see table above) used by INEC for allocation, got almost 700 or more new Polling Units.
Similarly, Oyo State got 528 new PUs whereas it should be at par in allocation with states like Bauchi, Borno and Niger States, given the figure of eligible voters used for these states which all got over 1,000 new PUs allocated to them. Specifically, Niger State got 1,151 Polling Units more than Oyo which has 50,000 more eligible voters than Niger State in the figures used by INEC above.
How could it be explained that Oyo State, where you have Ogbomosho and Ibadan the second biggest city in Africa, now having less voters than Borno, the hotbed of insurgency and, worse still, Yobe, that has 790 PUs compared to Oyo’s 528 ?
By the same token, Osun State has about 40,000 voters more in the figures used by INEC above, than Yobe State.
But while peaceful Osun State got basically no new Polling Unit allocations considering that the 121 it got is a baseline allocation for all states, Yobe State, which is at war, where most of the population has be driven away by strife, got 790 new PUs allocated to it. The question is why?
It is unimaginable how far INEC is ready to go to try to gloss over this obvious inequity and iniquity; the more it tries to explain it, the more it impugns its integrity.