19 April 2021. NAN: INEC on Monday blamed electoral violence and voter apathy on population growth and inadequate number of polling units.
“The current 119,973 poling units, which were created since 1996, have been the voting stations up until 2019 general elections,’’ Jibril Zarewa, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Katsina State, said.
“This is in spite of increase in voter population from 53 million in 1999 to 85 million in 2019,’’ he added.
Zarewa was addressing the start of a two-day workshop for INEC field officers on the proposed conversion of voting points to poling units.
“Over the years, several challenges have confronted INEC with regard to polling units as a result of population growth, demographic shifts, growth of new settlements and expansion of towns and villages.
“These make the existing polling units to become inadequate.
“Many of the polling units are overcrowded during elections; that brought delays, disruptions, violence and voter apathy.
“Voter access to polling units is fundamental to our elections and to democracy,’’ he said.
“The locations of some polling units also make access very difficult, particularly for persons living with disabilities,’’ Zarewa added.
He said there were 4,902 polling units in Katsina State that catered to 2.7 million voters in 1999, adding that the number of voters increased to about 3.3 million in 2019.
He explained that this informed the creation of additional 1,750 voting points in the state to bring the total number of voting centres to 6, 652 to reduce congestion.
Zarewa said that INEC would begin “Continuous Voter Registration’’ on June 28 to enable those eligible to obtain the Permanent Voter Registration Card.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised for Electoral Officers and Assistant Electoral Officers drawn from the 34 Local Government Areas of Katsina State. (NAN)