Politics Sun, 13 Jul 2008

Expedite action on Odododiodioo NDC petition - EC urged

Accra, July 13, GNA - The Secretary of the Odododiodoo Constituency of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Joseph Otoo, has called on the Electoral Commission (EC) to expedite action on a petition to remove some registration and polling centers in the area. The petition to the EC last year signed by the Constituency Chairman, Mr. Daniel Nii Okai, indicated that the continuous presence of 18 centres in the Central Business District was against the guidelines for the placement of polling and registration stations.

It stated that as the name implied the Central Business District was not a residential area but purely a business and commercial centre made up of offices, shops and markets. "Since elections had to do with residence that is captured in the registration forms and had nothing to do with business, the existence of

these polling stations was untenable and had to be removed," the party said.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Sunday, Mr. Otoo recalled an earlier petition on the same issue on March 9 2004 and said the District Registration Committee also recommended the cancellation of the registration of over 400 people because they were challenged. He said that supported the stance of the NDC executives that the 18

centres should be removed because some of the people who registered in the Central Business District could not be traced. Mr. Okai who was with the Secretary pointed out that it was the decision of the party to co-operate with the Commission to resolve the matter that saved a nasty and embarrassing situation and the people were transferred to their places of residence without any of them loosing the right to vote.

The two NDC executives appealed to the Commission to take action on the petition to avoid the situation that developed in 2004 and said the NDC was prepared to lend its co-operation to resolve the concerns before this year's review of the voters register.

Reasons stated for the removal of the registration and polling centres included the fact that the constituency had 10 markets in the area for which reason people from all walks of life flooded the vicinity daily to transact business and that those without fixed addresses in the area far outnumbered residents.

Centres identified to be removed included the AMA Head Office Registration and polling centre, Independence Avenue JSS, Water and Sewerage Yard, State Insurance Company, Fire Service Yard, Ayalolo Primary School and the Railway Yard registration and polling centres. The petition noted among other issues that, because people who registered in these centres were of no fixed addresses it contravened the provision that one should either be resident or ordinarily resident in an electoral area.

It noted that these same people went to their proper places of residence and registered again using their proper identification and particulars. The fact that people from other localities were in the constituency most of the working week did not mean that they could vote in the area, the petition indicated and pointed out that people should give truthful and accurate information about their residence. Mr. Otoo noted that, even though the EC acknowledged receipt of the petition, it said it was referring it to the Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) because "It was not a one party issue". The NDC Constituency Secretary stated that, it enquiries at the IPAC indicated that the EC had not forwarded the petition to the Committee. Mr. Otoo called on the EC to ensure that the matter was resolve before the public display of the Voters Register for this year's elections.

Source: GNA