By Dayo Johnson
The Independent National Electoral Commission has explained the reason for the creation of additional polling units ahead of the future elections in the country.
It equally said that wide consultations have been made with various stakeholders on the need to create more polling units.
The Director of Voter Education and Publicity of the commission, Mr Nick Dazang said this in Akure at the opening ceremony of the INEC/IFES Voter Education Manual Review/Validation and Training of Trainers Workshop.
According to him, “the inadequacy of polling units was one of the problem of Nigeria voting system, saying since 1996, the number of polling units in Nigeria had not increased while the population has increased.
“ The commission is intending to expand voters access to polling units. This is because the existing polling units were created in 1996, many of the voters today were born at that time and what it means is that some of them won’t have access to where they can vote now.
“Also many towns and villages have come up while some have expanded.
“ So many existing polling units cannot serve all the people now, that is why on election day you see a lot of congestion at the polling units and some people would be pissed off and with that voter, apathy would occur.
” So the only way to ameliorate the problem is to create additional voting points and the problem have not been solved.
“So we have started consulting the stakeholders, so far we have consulted with the leadership of political parties, CSOs, PWDLs, the media, Afenifere, ACF, Middle Belt Forum, Ohaneze among others to make them see the need for the creation of the additional polling
The commission also said there was a need for the voters’ education for the people of the country so as to give room for free, fair and credible future elections in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Resident Electoral Commission in Ondo State, Dr Rufus Akeju, said the commission at present, was making concerted efforts to engage with stakeholders to buy into the intention of the commission to make polling units more accessible to voters nationwide.
“ It is believed that this task would have been completed before the commencement of the CVR (Continuous Voters Registration).
Akeju said that the fact that voters in Nigeria are still culpable in various electoral offences indicate that our voter education drive is yet to achieve the desired result.