The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will, today, meet with political parties to brainstorm on how best to create additional Polling Units (PUs) in the country, Daily Trust gathered.
A senior official of the commission told our correspondent that the meeting was part of the series of consultations lined up by the commission to engage critical stakeholders on the creation of new PUs.
With 84.04 million registered voters, based on the 2019 figure, the country has 119,973 PUs which were established by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1996.
Daily Trust reports that three attempts to create additional polling units in the country were unsuccessful following agitation by various interest groups. The last attempt was in August 2014 when Professor Attahiru Jega was the chairman of the commission.
The proposal to create additional 30,027 polling units polarised the polity into various fault lines. In a recent exclusive interview with our correspondent, Jega said to enhance the integrity of the country’s electoral processes, additional polling units should be created.
“We decided to create new polling units when we couldn’t do constituency delimitation. Constituency delimitation is a requirement of the law; the constitution says that every 10 years, constituencies should be delimited. Why? Because in every country, there is population growth and constituencies should be relatively equal in size.
“By our own estimate, using the scientific criteria on constituency delimitation, the average size of a constituency in Nigeria should be about 350,000. So, we should have more polling units than we now have. Ideally, a polling unit should not be more than 500 voters, on average, to make it easier for everybody to come and by 2 pm, they must have voted and votes counted before evening so it can be announced,” Jega said.
It was gathered that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu will address the political parties on the proposal during a meeting today.
The commission will also meet with other stakeholders including civil society organisations, religious leaders, traditional institutions, labour unions, socio-cultural organisations, various arms of the federal government on the need to create additional polling units across the country.
Yakubu was quoted in a publication of the commission as saying, “Polling units are central to the electoral process and therefore democracy at large. Voter access to polling units is at the very heart of electoral democracy because polling units are the basis on which citizens exercise their fundamental rights to vote and to make electoral choices freely.”