The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday said it would bring polling units in overcrowded areas closer to the people, particularly to public places like schools, courts and hospitals ahead of the 2023 general elections.
While admitting that availability and access to PUs had been dwindling over the years, the commission said existing PUs in overcrowded places were prone to violence.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, emphasized this in Abuja during the training of the commission’s heads (Electoral Operations) on the implementation of voter access to PUs.
He said, “We are not doing Continuous Voters 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.”
According to him, polling units in private residences will also be relocated to public spaces.
Okoye said, “We will relocate such polling units and check for underserved areas and take them there.
“New registrant 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 during elections. We want Nigerians to have a good voting experience.
“We also want a situation where presiding officers and observers will have spaces to do their job, and we want to complete this process as soon as possible.”
Earlier in his presentation, INEC National Commissioner (Operations), Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano, said the commission failed in its previous attempts because the initiative was politicized by stakeholders.
While blaming poor communication on the aborted attempts, he however said INEC “is now more systematic to handle it.”
He urged the heads of its Electoral Operations Department to ensure that the guideline was followed religiously for optimal result.