The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu has raised the alarm over access to polling units in Nigeria.
During a meeting with Senate President, Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday, March 2; the INEC boss stated that polling units are in a state of crisis, adding that some are located in shrines.
There are 119,973 polling units in the country right now.
He noted that over 25 years, no addition has been made to the existing polling units in the country. Further, the INEC boss stated that the existing polling units are not sufficient in the face of COVID-19 pandemic
”What is the state of voter access to the polling units in Nigeria? The simple answer is that it is in a crisis and has been so for some time. The right to vote is a fundamental democratic right. However, existing polling units can no longer guarantee the exercise of that right because of the crisis of access to them.
”The crisis I must say affects all parts of the country. We have a quarter of a century; 25 years in this country without changing the existing polling units under a situation where 119,973 were established way back in 1996 by the then National Electoral Commission of Nigeria. They are no longer adequate. They are not conducive especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Further speaking on the crisis facing polling units, the Commission‘s Chairman said some polling units are overcrowded; noting that they are prone to electoral violence and this sometimes leads to cancellation of elections; as well as the declaration of some results as inconclusive.
“Some are located in conflict areas, homes of political chieftains, forest and even shrines.”