11 days to the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said elections would not hold in 240 polling units, spread across 28 states.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this during a meeting with political parties on Monday.
He said: “Let me therefore start with the issue of polling units. You may recall that in 2021, with your support and that of other critical stakeholders, the Commission successfully expanded voter access to polling units 25 years after the last delimitation exercise in 1996. Consequently, the number of polling units increased from 119,973 to the current figure of 176,846.
“At previous meetings, we also briefed you on our efforts to redistribute voters to the polling units in order to avoid the congestion that made voting cumbersome in many of them nationwide. This requires the redistribution of voters to new polling units in proximate locations. Where they are separated by distance, this must be done after consultation with the voters. This has been done by our State offices nationwide.
However, there are 240 polling units without registered voters spread across 28 states and the FCT. They range from one polling unit to 12 polling units in each state and the FCT, except Taraba and Imo states with 34 and 38 polling units respectively. No new registrants chose the polling units and no voters indicated interest to transfer to them during the last Continuous Voter Registration, mainly for security reasons. This means that no elections will hold in these polling units.
Yakubu added, “In our avowed commitment to transparency, the Commission is making available to Nigerians a comprehensive list of these polling units by name, code number and their locations by state, local government and registration Area. With this development, the number of polling units where elections will hold nationwide on February 25, 2023 and March 11, 2023 is now 176,606. Hard copies of the list are included in your folders for this meeting. Above all, Nigerians deserve the right to know the locations of these polling units. Accordingly, the soft copy of the list has been uploaded to our website and social media platforms for public information and guidance.”
Yakubu added that observations from the just concluded mock exercise showed that registered voters could not identify their polling units, advising voters to confirm the locations of their polling units through a dedicated portal on our website.
Also speaking at the meeting, the National Chairman, Inter-party Advisory Committee, Yabagi Sani, kicked against any postponemnet of the election, saying under no condition should the polls be shifted.
“Mr Chairman, under no circumstances should this election be postponed says IPAC”.