INEC Begins Verification of New Polling Centres

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To commence voters’ registration June 28

By Chuks Okocha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday commenced a nationwide verification exercise for centres proposed for voting units to be converted to polling units across the country.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this when he visited some of the proposed centres and existing polling units in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa State.

Yakubu, while speaking with journalist at the commission’s LG office in Karu, Nasarawa State, during the tour, said the purpose of the verification exercise was to ensure that the right thing is done in the conversion of the voting points to polling units.

According to him, “All the National Commissioners are out visiting the states of the federation to verify the work of converting the voting points to polling units.

“So, we decided from the headquarters to visit some of the polling units and voting points in the FCT and also in the Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. We have done that of FCT. We are now in Karu.

“You will recall that as part of our engagement with stakeholders, we show images of one of the congested polling units in the country from Karu.

“So, I have to verify that the right thing is done in converting those voting points to polling units and relocating them in line with the commission’s guidelines.

“So far, it is work in progress. At the end of the exercise, we will address the media.”

The INEC chairman said he had been informed that 395 voting points were being converted to polling units in Karu LGA.

Yakubu added that with the conversion of voting points to polling units, there would be expanded access to polling units for voters, while congestion of polling units would be eliminated in future elections.

He said: “What we have done basically is to build on what we did in 2019. Recall that we are converting the voting points used for the 2019 elections into autonomous polling units and relocating them.

“This is going to be a continuous process. One exercise will not solve the problem, but we hope we have established the mechanism that going forward, the commission will be adjusting the number of polling units as the number of registered voters increases.”

Some of the centres visited by Yakubu were PUs located in Government Secondary School Life Camp, Apo Legislative Quarters, and Zone-D entrance gate Apo in the FCT.

Others were the commission’s office in Mararaba, Karu LGA office and Karu International market in Nasarawa State.

Also speaking with journalists, a National Commissioner, Mohammed Haruna, said the visit was to ensure the field work carried out by the officers of the commission for conversion exercise was alright.

He said at the end of the verification exercise, INEC would hold stakeholders’ meeting to inform stakeholders what the commission had done as well as to get their inputs.

Haruna said the process of the PUs conversion was in three stages including the field work, which was undertaken by INEC Electoral Officers.

Meanwhile, the Chief Technical Adviser to the INEC chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, has said the continuous voter registration exercise will take place between June and September 2022.

He stated this at the training workshop for INEC staff who will supervise the exercise in Benin-city, Edo State

Eyinla said the exercise would be undertaken on a continual basis until the end of September 2022 to enable the commission prepare for the printing of the last batch of PVCs and the production of the voter register for the 2023 general election scheduled for February 18, 2023.