News Beyond Boundaries

INEC Chairman vows to open up on server controversy soon

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By Bukola Olasanmi

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, plan to speak very soon on the server controversy trailing the conduct and outcome of the 2019 general elections.

Yakubu said since the server matter was an issue before the Presidential Elections Tribunal, he will speak after the final judgment on all petitions.

He, however, asked interested Nigerians to go and read the statements on oath by the petitioners and the defendants to have a full grasp of the issues surrounding the controversial server.

But INEC plans to create more Polling Units (PUs) for accessibility to make voting faster and easier for the electorate.

Yakubu said the swing in the nation’s demography has led to a population surge in some cities.

He said while the Federal Capital Territory has had 562 Polling Units since its creation, the population of FCT has doubled over the years.

The nation presently boasts of 119, 973 PUs in 8,809 wards in a country with 84,004, 084 registered voters.

Apart from Polling Units, the INEC chairman said delimitation of constituencies has become imperative.

Yakubu spoke at the conclusion of a session on the review of the 2019 General Elections with the media in Abuja.

Responding to a question, he said: “In our jurisprudence, you cannot comment on a live matter in court. The matter is subjudice but after the judgment, I will speak on the server issue.

“There are a lot of documents you have not got. There are statements on oath by the petitioners and the defendants. Go and read these statements on oath. It is actually prudent to go back and read the statements.”

In Yakubu’s view, trust in the electoral process is more important than technology.

He added: “In some countries, they will be campaigning till the election day because there is trust. But in Nigeria, we print ballot papers, entrust these ballot papers with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and distribution is always done with heavy security. So, here, it is a question of trust.

“Remember, some people attacked INEC offices in some states during the last elections because of ballot papers and other sensitive materials. Trust is key in any electoral process. The major difference between us and other countries is trust.

“I cannot remember any country in Europe that does electronic voting; they still engage in manual process. Holland tried electronic voting but after 20 years, they reverted to ballot papers.”

Yakubu admitted that going by the nation’s fluid demography, the creation of more PUs is necessary.

He said: “Each time the commission makes attempt to create more Polling Units for accessibility to make voting faster and easier, it becomes a burning issue. We have to come up with the idea of Voting Points in some places to cater for increased number of voters.

“Definitely, creation of more Polling Units has to be done but we need the support of all stakeholders, including the media. We will continue to see what we can do to create more PUs. Having more Polling Units does not confer advantage on any state, group or political party

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