The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has removed 749 polling units (PUs) from inappropriate facilities, with nine of them from shrines and several others from religious houses, royal palaces and private properties.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Wednesday during a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
He said that the commission has created an additional 56,873 PUs.
According to him, from the initial 119,973 PUs, Nigeria now has 176, 846 full-fledged PUs following the conversion of the existing voting points (VPs) to PUs.
Yakubu noted that the history of creating and expanding PUs in Nigeria has been long and complex, adding 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.
According to him, following several unsuccessful attempts to create additional PUs despite the obvious pressure from increased number of registered voters, the commission established Voting Point Settlements (VPSs) across the country and the FCT as a pragmatic response to necessity.
“The VPs were tied to the existing PUs and VPSs. The number of registered voters in a PUs and the VPSs in the FCT, were used to determine their VPs, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively.”
“These were also the limits used for the 2019 General Election. The number of new PUs in a state is the number of VPs aggregated from those PUs having VPs. Furthermore, it was discovered that one PU in Lagos State had been wrongly categorized as a VP and the error was corrected.
“With this adjustment, the actual number of approved PUs came to 119,974. As a result, the commission arrived at the exact figure of 56,563 VPs in addition to 309 VPSs in the FCT, making a total of 56,872 VPs,” Yakubu said.
He added that after wide ranging consultations with stakeholders and fieldwork by its officials, the 56,872 VPs and VPSs were converted and added to the existing 119,974 PUs.
He said, “Consequently, the commission is glad to report that 25 years since the current PUs were created in 1996, the hard nut is finally and successfully cracked after several unsuccessful attempts. Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged PUs.
“Similarly, after consultation with stakeholders, the commission has successfully removed 749 PUs 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 this figure, 232 were removed from private properties, 145 royal palaces, six mosques, 21 churches and nine shrines. The remaining 336 PUs were relocated for various reasons which include distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements and general insecurity.”