NIGERIA: Resign Now, Southern Leaders’ Group Tells INEC Chairman

The leadership of the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to resign from office with immediate effect.

Jega was accused of having ethnic agenda with the commission’s recent creation of additional 30,000 polling units in the country.

The chairman of the commission had defended the creation, saying that the action was meant to bring the total polling units in the country to 150,000 and that it would decongest the polling units ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Jega on Wednesday said he would not resign his position but would conduct the 2015 general elections with the best intention and in national interest.

But the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly on Wednesday disagreed.

Leaders of the group, which included former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme; a former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark; and Okurounmu, said the action was not justifiable.

They stated this after the group’s meeting, which was held in Abuja on Wednesday.

It was also the opinion of the group that× Jonathan should immediately re-organise the composition and the structure of the commission immediately.

According to a communique issued at the end of the group’s meeting, the southern leaders said it was wrong for Jega to have done what he did.

The communique said, “Jega cannot exculpate himself from being a proponent of ethic agenda; we are the least surprised that he has been recruited to perfect the ploy of some persons from parts of this country to truncate our nascent democracy.

“With the indefensible employment of proportional representation and equality as parameters, Jega decided not to equilibrate but to marginalize the entire southern Nigeria by arbitrarily and capriciously allocating 21,615 polling units to the North as against 8,412 polling units to southern Nigeria.

“Whereas we have clearly argued the lack of need for any additional polling unit given the reduced number of registered voters consequent upon the Automated Fingers Identification System.

“Creating a phantom 30,000 polling units and whimsically allocating them to favour the North is the height of insult to the people of southern Nigeria.”

But while speaking at a press conference held in the commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, Jega insisted that the commission would not rescind its decision on the new PUs.

He said, “I am not an ethnic or religious jingoist. My antecedents are there; I have been accused of many things. Those who don’t want progress resort to sponsoring fictitious groups to pull us down.

“These critics are mischief makers who hang everything on ethnic or religious context. That is not the case as far as INEC is concerned, there is nothing we can do. We believe that all rational thinking people in those groups will later see reason with us. This is not the first time people are calling for my resignation or being fired. I will be there in 2015.”

Source: Punch
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