Breaking: INEC creates 56,872 additional polling units, sets date for Ekiti guber poll

After 25 years since the current polling units were created in 1996, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that it has successfully cracked the hard nut of converting  56,872 voting points to polling units. 
With the exercise, the commission stated that the country has now 176,846 full-fledged polling units nationwide. 

This is a departure from the precise figure of 119,974 polling units which the commission operated on till this year. 

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), INEC chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu said the commission successfully removed 749 polling units from inappropriate locations to appropriate public facilities or open spaces in line with our policy to guarantee unencumbered access to polling units for all voters. 
According to the INEC boss, “Of this figure, 232 were removed from private properties, 145 royal palaces, 6 mosques, 21 churches and 9 shrines. The remaining 336 Polling Units were relocated for various reasons which include distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements and general insecurity.” “After wide ranging consultations with stakeholders and fieldwork by our officials, the 56,872 voting points and voting point settlements were converted and added to the existing 119,974 polling units. 

“Consequently, the commission is glad to report that 25 years since the current Polling Units were created in 1996, the hard nut is finally and successfully cracked after several unsuccessful attempts. Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged Polling Units.
 “Similarly, after consultation with stakeholders, the commission has successfully removed 749 polling units from inappropriate locations to appropriate public facilities or open spaces in line with our policy to guarantee unencumbered access to polling units for all voters. 

Prof Yakubu explained that the conversion followed “several unsuccessful attempts to create additional polling units despite the obvious pressure from increased number of registered voters, the commission established voting points and voting point settlements across the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a pragmatic response to necessity. 
He further explained that “the voting points were tied to the existing polling units and voting point settlements. The number of registered voters in a Polling Unit and the Voting Point Settlement in the FCT, was used to determine their Voting Points, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively. These were also the limits used for the 2019 general election.” 
He said the number of new polling units in a state is the number of voting points aggregated from those polling units having voting points. 
“However, in view of the advanced preparations already made by the commission, four pending bye-elections in Kaduna, Jigawa and Plateau states will be the last to be conducted using a combination of polling units and voting points. 
“Two of these elections in Sabon Gari state constituency in Kaduna state and Gwaram federal constituency in Jigawa state are holding this weekend while the commission awaits the formal declaration of vacancies by the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives in respect of Lere federal constituency of Kaduna State and Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau state. 

“For subsequent elections, beginning from the Anambra state governorship election holding on 6th November 2021, there will be no voting points any more in Nigeria. “The new approved polling units for each state of the federation and FCT will be presented to the public in 37 volumes at this meeting. 

The INEC chairman also announced that “the commission is preparing to conduct the remaining off-season end of tenure elections ahead of the 2023 general election. 
“Already, activities listed in the timetable for the Anambra state governorship election are being implemented. So too are those of the FCT Area Council election holding on 12th February 2022.” He said, “In the sequence of off-season elections, the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections are holding next year. 
“In keeping with our policy of announcing the dates of elections in advance to enable early and effective preparations by all concerned, the commission has approved that the Ekiti state governorship election will hold on Saturday 18th June 2022 while the Osun state governorship election will hold one month later on Saturday 16th July 2022. 
“The detailed timetable and schedule of activities for the two elections have been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms. We implore political parties and aspirants to ensure rancour-free primaries and thereafter conduct peaceful electioneering campaigns.”