By Omeiza Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has expressed its desire to convert existing voting points and settlements into Polling Units to enhance voter access during elections.
National Commissioner and Chairman, INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye said the decision was part of resolutions reached at Wednesday’s meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security ICCES in Abuja.
The meeting was part of INEC’s national engagement and consultations with stakeholders on the need to expand voter access to Polling Units in Nigeria. It was co-chaired by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and the Representative of the National Security Adviser, Mr. Sanusi Galadima.
The meeting resolved that given the current state of voter access to Polling Units in Nigeria, expanding access to Polling Units is fundamental and critical to the exercise of the right to vote and to the conduct of free, fair, credible and safe elections.
It all resolved that “it is important and necessary to widely consult with all electoral stakeholders to develop a consensus and build trust in expanding Voter access to Polling Units.
“That ICCES supports the INEC proposal of converting the existing and well-known Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements into full-fledged Polling Units as a practical and realistic way to expand Voter access to Polling Units.
“That ICCES will collaborate with the Commission in achieving this objective and in promoting measures towards a routinized and seamless adjustment for expanding Voter Access to Polling Units as the need arises in the future”.
In expanding Voters access to Polling Units, participants said due attention should be paid to location of the proposed Polling Units in suitable, accessible, secure and conducive environments for voting.
Stakeholders also resolved to support INEC’s efforts to expand voter access to Polling Units and avoid politicizing the issues involved.