There is a furore in Anambra State following the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to relocate 1,112 polling units from shrines, royal fathers’ houses, churches and houses of political office holders among others in the state.
The Anambra State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mkpachukwu Orji, disclosed on Monday during a stakeholders’ meeting on expansion of voters access to polling units in Anambra, held in Awka, the state capital, that the 1112 polling units would be relocated to provide legitimacy to the electoral process.
But the announcement has received heavy bashing from the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and the special adviser to the state governor on Political Matters, Mr. Ifatu Obiokoye.
Orji argued that polling units situated in inappropriate places hinder electorate’s access to voting during elections.
“Those polling units in such inappropriate places are not good for our elections. Most times, people see them as personal polling units. We want to make the polling units accessible to all voters,” he said.
Orji said that the commission would also increase the number of polling units in the state from 4,608 to 5,720 to give access to more voters.
The REC lamented that less than 30 percent of registered voters in the state cast their votes in the last general election and called on the stakeholders in the state to mobilise voters to actively participate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
But reacting, chairman of the Anambra State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, and Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Political Matters, Mr. Ifatu Obiokoye, berated INEC, saying the decision was taken without seeking inputs from stakeholders in the state.
They argued that if INEC had consulted them, they would have made useful inputs since they were active partners in the electoral process.
Creates additional polling units in Ogun, C/River
INEC has also said it created additional 1832 polling units in Ogun State as part of the commission’s voter access expansion.
The addition with the already existing 3,210 polling units now brings the total polling units in the state to 5,042.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, disclosed this on Monday, in Abeokuta, at a stakeholders’ meeting.
Similarly, the commission has increased the total number of polling units in Cross River State to 3281.
This was disclosed by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Emmanuel Hart, when he met with election stakeholders in the state yesterday.
By Titus Eleweke (Awka), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), & Eyo Charles (Calabar)