The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has announced plans to create 1,892 additional aimed at expanding voter access to polling units in Edo State.
Mr Johnson Alalibo, The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) said this on Friday at a Stakeholders meeting in Benin.
According to him, if approved by the Commission would now increase the number of polling units from 2,627 to 4519, with a total of 2,210 534 registered voters in the 192 Wards in the State.
He explained that the expansion activity was to address problems enumerated in the past and ensure easy access to polling units and voting points in the State.
“We have the problem of organisation of polling units, this is also related to location. Many of the polling units are in the open while others are with no cover.
“Others have inadequate space to conduct the activity of voting on election day. This gives room to vote buying and in some cases, sundry electoral malpractices.
“Above all, the size of some polling units makes the voter access difficult thereby resulting to declining participation and voter apathy.
“To put this succinctly, large polling units in some areas implies that they become overcrowded in elections, which is a recipe for delays, disruptions, violence and apathy.
“Therefore, the activity of expansion of voter access to polling units is to address the problem enumerated and not just the creation or conversion of polling units to full fledged, substantive polling units,” he said.
Alalibo explained further that as the commission enters a new electoral circle (2019-2023) with some major activities such as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), it has decided on this engagement with stakeholders ahead of its electoral calendar.
The REC stated that registrants in the forthcoming continuous voter registration would now register in polling units nearest to their places of abode.
He also said the INEC office in Edo had gone to the field and done a very thorough job in the creation of the new polling units using the guidelines set by the commission.
“As we have started the preparation for the 2023 general elections, this activity is key to the success of the elections.
“Because safe, secured, less crowded and accessible polling units encourages participation and counts on the integrity of the election process ,” he added.
Chairmen of political parties, traditional rulers, Civil society organisations (CSOs), Heads of security agencies in the State and Persons living with disabilities and Local Government electoral officers as well as traditional rulers attended the meeting.