The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will work with stakeholders to properly site newly created 1,187 polling units in Enugu State.
The INEC National Commissioner, South East, Prof Okechukwu Ibeanu, made the pledge during a meeting with stakeholders on “Expanding Voter Access to Polling Units’’ in Enugu on Tuesday.
Ibeanu, who is also Chairman of Election Operations and Logistics committee, said that the commission converted the voting points to full-fledged polling units to increase voters’ access and participation during elections.
He explained that INEC wanted the stakeholders to help to properly relocate the newly converted polling units to a suitable place to improve all citizens’ access during election in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that INEC on April 30, announced expansion of polling units in Enugu State from 2,958 to 4,147 polling units.
Ibeanu also blamed the low turnout of voters during elections to poor polling units’ access and overcrowding.
He said the creation of the new polling units was in line with section 49 of the Electoral Act, which states that the commission shall create polling units and allocate voters to them.
He said: “In over 25 years, the number of polling units remained the same while the population of Enugu State has increased and more autonomous communities have emerged.
“We found it necessary to create more polling units to improve the participation of electorate.
“If you have a right to vote and you do not have a place to vote, it is like you don’t have a right’’.
Earlier, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, sought the partnership of traditional rulers, town union president-generals and other stakeholders in all communities to protect INEC and electoral facilities.
“We are gathered here today to unveil the extent that INEC has gone to ensure that voters in Enugu and Nigeria in general have improved access to polling units through the conversion of existing voting points to polling units.
“This, we hope, will lead to improved participation during elections.
“You will recall that in the 2019 General Election, Enugu State recorded less than 40 per cent voter participation, which was partly blamed on citizens’ difficulty to access polling units,’’ he said.
In a presentation, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers’ Council in the state Enugu, commended INEC for creating more polling units in the state.
Agubuzu noted, “Enugu State needs more polling unit to solve voters’ apathy among the electorates’’.
Other stakeholders also called on INEC field officials to liaise with traditional and religious leaders at the grassroots to know suitable locations for the new polling units. (NAN)