Don’t expect elections in 240 Polling Units in 28 States, FCT – INEC tells Nigerians
The Independent National Electoral Commission said on Monday that it would not conduct elections in 240 polling units which it described as having no registered voters across 28 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this on Monday, during meeting with leaders of political parties to discuss matters relating to the upcoming #NigeriaDecides2023 election, said elections will now hold in 176,606 polling units instead of 176,846 polling units.
According to Yakubu, the number of polling unit ranges from one to 12 polling units in each State and the FCT, adding only Taraba and Imo States are with 34 and 38 polling units respectively.
The INEC Chairman stated that the meeting was in fulfilment to regularly consult with political party leaders on the activities of the Commission with a view to bringing them up to date on the preparations for the forthcoming elections.
According to him, “In 2021, with your support and that of other critical stakeholders, the Commission successfully expanded voter access to polling units 25 years after the last delimitation exercise in 1996. Consequently, the number of polling units increased from 119,973 to the current figure of 176,846.”
He said that after the redistribution of voters to new polling units in proximate locations nationwide.
“There are 240 polling units without registered voters spread across 28 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). They range from one polling unit to 12 polling units in each State and the FCT, except Taraba and Imo states with 34 and 38 polling units respectively.
“No new registrants chose the polling units and no voters indicated interest to transfer to them during the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), mainly for security reasons. This means that no elections will hold in these polling units.
“In our avowed commitment to transparency, the Commission is making available to Nigerians a comprehensive list of these polling units by name, code number and their locations by State, Local Government and Registration Area.
“With this development, the number of polling units where elections will hold nationwide on 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023 is now 176,606.”
On the challenges observed during the recent nationwide mock accreditation using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System – BVAS, INEC Chairman said that during the exercise, they observed that some voters could not easily identify their polling units.
In finding solution, Yakubu advised voters to confirm the locations of their polling units through a dedicated portal on INEC website.
“From the feedback we received from our officials and accredited observers following the recent nationwide mock accreditation using the BVAS, it is clear that some voters could not easily identify their polling units.
“This should not happen on election day. Consequently, the Commission is advising voters to confirm the locations of their polling units through a dedicated portal on our website.
“In addition, all voters who have been assigned to new polling units will receive text messages from the Commission indicating their polling units.”
He stated that the Commission was finalising the issuance of 1,642,386 identification tags for the Polling and Collation Agents nominated by the 18 political parties made up of 1,574,301 Polling Agents and 68,085 Collation Agents.
INEC Chairman, however, appealed to the Chairmen and leaders of political parties to ensure that only agents accredited by the Commission and wearing the correct identification tags appear at polling units and collation centres during elections.
He said only Identification tags the INEC issued will be recognised on election day, warning that violators are liable to arrest and prosecution for impersonation.
The electoral umpire lamented the increasing violent attacks on supporters of political parties across the board, resulting in the loss of life in some cases, the Commission Chair appealed to Chairmen and leaders of political parties to continue to call their candidates and supporters to order.
The Commission, however, called on the security, agencies to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in violent conduct, including incendiary statements capable of inciting a breach of the peace.