•Centres to have between 750 and 1000 voters
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may approve up to 176,996 polling centres across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of the ongoing expansion and verification of polling centres ahead of the 2023 general election.
But the adjustments of the lower and upper thresholds for voting points, according to INEC, would be from 750 and 1000, to 500 and 750.
The implication is that INEC would be creating additional 57,023 polling units nationwide, although the breakdown is not known yet.
A memo dated April 20, 2021 was said to have backed the development. The document with reference number INEC/DE/No:72/2021 and titled: “Decision Extraction on the Amendment of the Threshold for the Conversion of Voting Points to Polling Units,” reads in part: “The Commission at its meeting held on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, deliberated on the above subject and approved as follows: The adjustment of the lower and upper thresholds for Voting Points from 750 and 1000 to 500 and 750, respectively
“That the ICT and Electoral Operations Departments and the state and local government area offices of the Commission should adopt these new thresholds in implementing the ongoing programme of expanding voting access to Polling Units.
“You may wish to refer the extract to all Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Directors for information and necessary action, please.”
Maryam Iya Musa, a director at the Commission, signed the memo.
INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Festus Okoye, had earlier told THISDAY that the commission planned to create new polling units from the existing 119,973 polling centres. Okoye said INEC would create additional 57,023 polling units, to make the proposed 176,996 polling centres
This is coming 25 years after the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) created the existing polling units, which INEC has been using.
Under the new polling centres, units would have between 500 and 750 voters.
Putting all elements into consideration, INEC, THISDAY gathered, had settled for the application of 500 lower limit and 750 upper limit.
Under the former INEC leadership, headed by Professor Attahiru Jega, the commission planned the creation of 30,000 polling units. In the new polling centres before it was rejected, northern states had over 21,000 while the entire South got a little above 8,000.
Voting point platform, as widely known and accepted by stakeholders, was based on lower and upper thresholds of 750 and 1,000 registered voters, respectively.
But, as at press time, the commission was yet to give a breakdown of state-by-state or zone-by-zone of the polling centres.