From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said that the commission are fully ready to expand 1,340 polling points in Kebbi state and relocate few existence ones to locations where electorates would have access to them.
National Commissioner of the INEC in charge of North- West,Mr. Festus Okoye who us also National Commissioner on Information and Voter Education, disclosed this during a Stakeholders forum meeting on expansion of voters access to polling units held at the INEC state headquarters, Birnin Kebbi.
Okoye,explained that, since 1996,about 25 years ago,the same polling units created for about 50 million voters were still in existence till today while the nation population had grown to over 200 million.
He noted that, in 1999 the same polling units were used for electorates of 57 million, while in 2011,2015,and 2019, the same polling units were used for 61.5million voters, 73.5 million voters, and 80 million voters respectively.
“What we are doing now and what we shall doing is to be inclusive and consultative in relation to our programmes and policies
” Sine 1996,when the last polling units were created, no pilling units were created. And as at the time these polling units were created,voters population were 50 million. During the 2019 voters registration, we have voters population of over 80 million and we still remained with the same number of polling units.
“As such,the Commission decided that all the polling points in existence should be converted to full polling units. We would take these polling to underserved areas”, he said.
He added that the commission are trying to carry all the stakeholders along so that, they would know what is going on before the commencement of voters registration on the 20th June, 2021.
Earlier, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kebbi State,Alhaji Ahmed Bello Mahmud explained that the Commission are ready to make history for itself for expanding and create new polling units for over 25 years.
He said that,due to congestion, inaccessibility of polling units, many voters have been disfranchised stressed that, with the expansion of polling units and creation of new ones,voting apathy will be drastically reduced.
In his remark, the state Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC),Arc. Bala Sanni Kangiwa described the development as good reform that would allow more supporters of political parties to vote without disfranchised.
According to him, ” the more polling units we have,the less congestion we would have,less voters apathy and less crowd situation. So it is very good exercise and I want to commend the commission for the programme.
“It is going to benefits our political parties because more of our supporters will have the opportunity to votes”.