By Dennis Agbo
The Resident Electoral Chairman, REC, in Enugu state, Mr Emeka Ononamadu, has washed his hands off the allegation that the ongoing conversion of polling points to full-fledged polling units in the state is being influenced by political interests and other extraneous factors.
Ononamadu said that the exercise which is taking place nationwide was to increase access of voters and reduce the low turnout of voters as was witnessed in previous elections, particularly in the 2019 general elections.
In a press briefing on Friday, Ononamadu disclosed that some of the locations of polling units make accessibility almost impossible particularly for people living with disabilities, which he said that with ongoing exercise, such wrongly located Polling units will be reviewed and properly relocated.
He said he was shocked about rumours making the rounds that it was only some communities in the state that secretly applied for new polling units that gave new polling units; adding that there was also rumour that it was the pressure from some politicians requesting new polling units that INEC was yielding to.
“These rumours are false. INEC is simply converting existing voting points into polling units, therefore, polling units creation is not a direct response to any application or pressure. The objectives stated above are the driving factors aimed at giving Nigerians the best.
“Polling Units constitute the basic structure of Nigeria’s electoral system and democracy, thus the desire of the Commission to make it accessible to all eligible Nigerians. As you may be aware, the inadequacy of polling units implies that many of them are overcrowded during the election,” Ononamadu said.
He stated that there were currently 2,958 polling units in Enugu state, which going by the guideline for conversion of voting points, 1,189 new polling units will emerge as new polling units and would be appropriately located in strict adherence to the guideline which prescribes that polling units should be located based on certain considerations.
Such considerations he explained include public places, preferably centrally located and accessible
non-sectarian facilities like community halls, health centres, court premises, public recreation centres, among others.
“After this exercise, it will be followed by resumption of Continuous Voters Registration, CVR, which will offer voters the opportunity to add eligible citizens, who present themselves for registration, into the voter’s register. It will also provide the opportunity to transfer their registration to any polling unit of their choice. With this and many more, we believe that the decline of voter access will be addressed,” Ononamadu said.