The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said there might be credibility issuesmay mar the 2023 general elections if additional polling units are not created.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during a meeting with the National Executive Council (NEC) in Abuja.
According to him, the current 119,973 polling units in the country would disenfranchise millions of citizens on the day of voting.
Yakubu explained that voter access to polling units in Nigeria was in a state of crisis because existing polling units could no longer guarantee the citizens the right to vote.
He said the existing polling units, established in 1996, were no longer adequate conducive for voters to freely vote, especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“They were also unsuitable for the commission to properly manage elections and to ensure that rules and regulations are strictly followed,” the INEC boss added.
Disclosing that the commission received 9,777 requests for additional polling units across the country, he explained that the commission had considered a lot of solutions to the problem, and converting the voting points and voting point settlements into full-fledged autonomous polling units were the most feasible.
He said: “Voting points have been used since 2011; therefore, they are well known and have been accepted as the basis for conducting elections since 2011. Citizens are familiar with them.
“Again, unserved areas can be easily verified using maps, and the good thing is that we now have satellite imageries of the location of all our polling units nationwide. Conversion will require less time and resources. This is something that we can do easily on the basis of the information that we have.”
Yakubu told the meeting that governors could help to depoliticise the issues involved and support the commission to build a national consensus to solve the problems.
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