Inadequate Polling Units Responsible for Electoral Violence, Says INEC

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By Francis Sardauna

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has attributed the prevailing electoral violence bedevilling the country to inadequate polling units and increasing population.

The Katsina State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Jibril Ibrahim Zarewa, who disclosed this at a two-day capacity building workshop for field officers yesterday, said the electoral umpire has been facing the aforementioned predicament over the years.

THISDAY gathered that the capacity building workshop for the field officers-electoral officers (EOs) and assistant electoral officers (AEOs)-which drew participants from the 34 local government areas of the state, is on proposed conversion of voting points to polling units.

He explained that the challenge of inadequate polling units confronting the electoral body was orchestrated by population growth, demographic shifts, new settlements and expansion of towns and villages across the country.

According to him, “Over the years, several challenges have confronted INEC with regards to polling units. And as a result of population growth, demographic shifts and growth of new settlements and expansion of towns and villages, existing polling units have become inadequate.

“Many of the polling units were overcrowded during elections, which brought delays, disruptions, violence and apathy. The locations of some polling units also make access very difficult, particularly for persons living with disabilities.”

Zarewa, however, said INEC has created additional 1,750 voting centres in Katsina State, bringing the total number of voting centres in the state to 6,652 in order to tackle the problem of congestion at polling units in the state.

At the end of the training, the state REC said the participants would be adequately equipped with the methodologies and guidelines required for converting voting points and voting point settlements to polling units.

Zarewa noted that after the capacity building workshop, the commission would on June 28, 2021, commence the process of continuous voter registration (CVR) that will enable eligible Nigerians to register for their permanent voter cards (PVC).