By Kolade Adeyemi, Jos
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has created 2,358 additional polling units in Plateau State.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Halilu Pai, announced this at a stakeholders’ meeting in the state.
He said the creation of the additional units followed field exercise by INEC operatives to ascertain the state’s situation and peculiar needs for seamless elections.
“When the converted voting points are approved by the commission, it will increase the existing 2,631 polling units to a total of 4,989 polling units in the state.
“This is to avail voters better access to polling units and serve previously unserved/poorly served areas,” Pai said.
He said conversion of the voting points to polling units was subject to approval by the national headquarters of INEC.
He explained the creation became imperative as the existing polling units created in 1996 by the defunct National Electoral Commission (NECON) were no longer adequate due to the increase in the population of the state.
Pai said the objective of the exercise was basically to, among other benefits, expand voter access to polling units.
“As much as possible, the location of polling units shall be in accordance with the detailed guidelines issued by the commission.
“They shall be accessible and in spacious facilities such as schools, town halls, health centres, court premises and recreational centres.
“The location shall be central in non-sectarian and adequately sheltered public places”.
“Under no circumstance shall polling units be located in facilities that are in dispute, private compounds, royal palaces, residences of government officials, political party buildings or religious worship centres. Moreover, any building into which a voter may be denied access will not be considered,” he said
Pai said the National Commissioner in charge of North Central, Muhammed Haruna, led the verification team comprising of technical staff from the headquarters, the REC and other staff to conduct the verification which lasted from April 21 to April 29.
He appealed for understanding as the exercise may not have completely met all demands or requests for polling units in the state.
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