By Tunde Oguntola, |
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it wants Nigerians to have a good voting experience, a reason it says it remains resolute on its plan on expansion of voter access to polling units in the country.
The commission said polling units that have a lower threshold of 750 and with a high threshold of 1,000 would be broken to make people spend less time on polling units during elections.
The INEC national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education, Barr Festus Okoye, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the training for heads of its Electoral Operations Department on the Implementation of Voter Access to Polling Units.
Okoye said the availability and access to polling units had been dwindling over the years.
He averred that most polling units in the country due to their configuration were overcrowded and prone to violence.
“We are not doing continuous voter registration at the moment, this is because Nigerians have agreed and we have agreed that our polling units must be expanded.
“Our polling units due to their configuration are overcrowded and prone to violence. We want to move such polling units to public places like schools, courts, and maybe hospitals,” he said.
He said polling units in private residences and shrines would also be taken to public spaces.
“We will relocate such polling units and check for underserved and unserved areas and take them there.
“New registrants for their continuous voter registration will be taken to the new polling units. This will create room for social distancing, security men will also manage the election well. We don’t want Nigerians to suffer on election day. We want Nigerians to have a good voting experience. We also want a situation where presiding officers including observers will have spaces to do their job, and we want to complete this process as soon as possible,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the national commissioner in charge of operations, Prof Okechukwu Ibeano, said the previous attempts were unsuccessful to expand polling units because the issue was politicized.
He said the commission also did not consult with stakeholders. At the moment he said, the commission is now more systematic to handle it.
He urged the heads of its Electoral Operations Department to ensure the guidelines is followed to get it right.