Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is pushing for the creation of additional 57,023 polling units to enable more Nigerians to vote.
The agency has called a meeting for on Friday with the political parties in Abuja to table its proposals.
INEC will also hold talks with Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Arewa Consultative Forum, PANDEF, the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs( NSCIA) and civil society groups, to secure their support for the plan.
If all the stakeholders endorse INEC’s plans, it will be the first time since 1996 that additional polling units, will be created.
Despite its surging population, the nation’s Polling Units in the last 25 years have remained at 119,973.
INEC will also no longer allow the setting up of Polling Units in private compounds, royal palaces, government houses, political party buildings, or facilities that are in dispute.
The proposals are contained in an INEC document titled “The State of Voter Access to Polling Units in Nigeria”.
Although INEC has not succeeded in the last 25 years to create more Polling Units because of suspicion, it explained that the time is ripe now.
In the document, the INEC said it is weighing three options.
These are: Conversion of the existing 57,023 Voting Points and Voting Point Settlements to Polling Units and Application by residents of new area/settlement for Polling Units
Creation of Polling Areas in line with Section 13(3) of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended).
Although INEC said it has received 5,747 requests from communities and groups across the country, the electoral agency said it prefers to convert the existing 57,023 to Polling Units (PUs).
It claimed that such conversion will be less controversial.
It added: “The current configuration of 119,973 Polling Units was established by the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1996.
“In the nearly 25-year period since then, every attempt to review or reconfigure the Polling Unit structure has been unsuccessful for sundry reasons. Consequently, the 1996 Polling Unit configuration was used for the 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019 General Elections.