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Community may shun polls over polling units relocation



Director, Consumer Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) Mrs. Maryam Bayi(left), Director Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo and Vice President, Trade Fair , Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry , Mines and Agriculture , Jasper Nduagwuike at the just-ended Enugu International Trade Fair

THE people of Oruku Community in Nkanu East local government area of Enugu State have petitioned the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC threatening to boycott the March 28 and April 11,
2015 elections if the two polling units relocated from the community
to the neighbouring Umuode community were not restored.

The community said there was no justification for the relocation of the two polling units by the commission as the action was capable of disenfranchising several eligible voters in the area and urged the commission to reverse it before the coming elections.

The INEC in Enugu State had through a letter to the Traditional Ruler
of Oruku Autonomous Community dated March 13, 2019 and signed by its Administrative Secretary, Mr. Owhor Nathan, notified the community of its decision to move the two poling units out of Oruku.

The commission said that “the purpose of the relocation is to provide
two (2) polling units for the people of Umuode Autonomous Community out of the five (5) polling units in Oruku Autonomous where Umuode people have relocated while retaining three (3) units for Oruku Community.”

The commission asked the monarch to inform his people of the decision to enable them know where to vote during the general elections, explaining that the commission had “approved a of polling units from places of worship and private buildings to
public buildings, and from areas of concentration of polling units to
locations where there are no polling units.”

But the decision did not go down well with the Oruku natives many of who had registered at the relocated polling units and would be
impossible for them to move to Umuode to vote in view of the
unresolved communal feud between the two communities.

The affected polling units were Community Primary School, Oruku Code number 006 moved to Community Primary School, Umuode and Afor Uzam Oruku with Code number 008 moved to Eke Umuode Market Square.

However, in their reply to the letter signed by Mr. Cyprian Nwatu,
President-General of Oruku Town Union, the community said that there was no Umuode person registered at Eziobodo Primary School under Code 006, alleging that “the aim of Umuode community was to carry the population of Oruku to swell up their own population for other political and social machinations against the Oruku community.”

“We are wondering why INEC should carry the Eziobodo Primary School Polling unit to Umuode Primary School whereas nobody from Umuode registered there. Besides, in the 2011 elections votes from Uzam outnumbered that from Umuode and it is a well known fact that the two polling booths are not located in any worship centre but at public places – i. e. Primary Schools and Markets.

“Curiously we ask what is the justification of moving the Polling
Booths of Orukwu Primary School, Eziobodo to Umuode Primary School?
Oruku community in good faith hereby advises INEC to suspend this
precipitated action for the sake of fairness and peace. Oruku does not
appreciate the removal of its polling booths to Umuode,” Nwatu stated.
The community, however, informed INEC that the issue of autonomy of Umuode as a community was subjudice since it was a subject matter of a suit number E/84/2010, Igwe Nomeh and others Vs. The Attorney-General of Enugu State and others, now before an Enugu High Court for determination.”

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