The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has added another 56,872 more polling units in various parts of the country.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this on Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, said that the move was in line with the resolve to expand voters’ access to polling units.
“After wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders and fieldwork by our officials, the 56,872 voting points and voting point settlements were converted and added to the existing 119,974 Polling Units.
“Consequently, the commission is glad to report that 25 years since the current polling units were created in 1996, the hard nut is finally and successfully cracked after several unsuccessful attempts. Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged polling units,” he said.
Professor Yakubu stated that the history of creating and expanding polling units in Nigeria has been long and complex.
He explained that their adequacy and accessibility, in terms of number and location across the country, were some of the challenges that had to be addressed in the interest of credible elections.
The INEC boss said before 2010, the electoral umpire operated on a round figure of approximately 120,000 polling units.
He added that a census undertaken by the commission before the 2011 general elections arrived at the precise figure of 119,973 polling units.
Professor Yakubu disclosed that INEC has also made efforts to relocate many polling units from inappropriate places to public buildings accessible to voters, polling agents, observers, and the media during elections.
He listed some of the locations to include private residences and properties, palaces of traditional rulers, and places of worship.
The INEC Chairman attributed the establishment of voting points and voting point settlements across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to the several unsuccessful attempts to create additional polling units.
“The voting points were tied to the existing polling units and voting point settlements. The number of registered voters in a polling unit and the voting point settlement in the FCT, was used to determine their voting points, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively,” he said.
Meanwhile a total of 749 polling units have been relocated from inappropriate locations in various states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said, “After consultation with stakeholders, the commission has successfully removed 749 polling units from inappropriate locations to appropriate public facilities or open spaces, in line with our policy to guarantee unencumbered access to polling units for all voters.”
Of the figure, 232 were removed from private properties, 145 from royal palaces, six from mosques, 21 from churches, and nine from shrines.
The remaining 336 polling units, the INEC boss stated, were relocated for various reasons which included distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements, and general insecurity.
He said the history of creating and expanding polling units in Nigeria has been long and complex, stating that their adequacy and accessibility, in terms of number and location across the country, were some of the challenges that had to be addressed in the interest of credible elections.
Professor Yakubu, therefore, noted that INEC has converted the existing voting points and voting point settlements in various parts of the country to polling units.
As a result, he unveiled a total of 56,872 additional polling units, saying Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged polling units.
The INEC chairman attributed the establishment of voting points and voting point settlements to the several unsuccessful attempts to create additional polling units.
He also announced the dates to conduct the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States, saying it was in line with keeping with the commission’s policy of announcing the dates in advance to enable early and effective preparations by all concerned.
“The commission has approved that the Ekiti State Governorship election will hold on Saturday, June 18, 2022, while the Osun State Governorship election will hold one month later on Saturday, July 16, 2022,” said Professor Yakubu.