INEC receives 9,777 requests for additional polling units

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The National Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmud Yakubu, on Tuesday, disclosed that as at Feb. 15, the commission had received 9,777 unsolicited requests from across the country for the establishment of additional polling units.

He observed that the requests, which were 5,700 as at October 2020, had spiraled by over 4,000 in just four months.

Yakubu made the disclosures when he visited the offices of the Arewa Consultative Forum office, in Kaduna, for consultation on creating additional polling units in the country.

The INEC chairman said the purpose of the visit was to meet with an organ of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to brief them of the commission’s policy of expanding access to polling units in the country, adding that the issue of inadequate polling units was a national problem.

“We have had 119,973 polling units since 1996, but the number hasn’t changed as it was projected in 1996 to accommodate 50 million registered voters.

“In 1999, the country had 84 million registered voters and the number of polling units still remained the same “, he said.

He noted that as a result, there was a lot of congestion and this had not given voters a pleasant voting experience on Election Day.

Yakubu said that the commission was clear on its intention to build a national consensus in the interest of democracy, explaining that the process had begun since last week during which the commission had already met with political parties, organizations, security agencies and the media.

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He added that consultation was very important in any democracy, and that was why the commission needed to consult, so as to get the aggregate views of Nigerians.

According to him, the commission was expanding the conversation to socio-cultural associations, traditional and religious organizations, and statutory bodies such as the National Assembly, the Federal Executive Council and National Council of States.

He said the commission had contacted all groups across the country and some had already started responding via text messages.