The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday said it will convert the 3,148 Voting Points (VPs) in Kano State to full-fledged Polling Units (PUs).
The commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Professor Riskwa A. Shehu, disclosed this in Kano during a stakeholders’ meeting organised on expanding voter access to PUs in the state.
He said the decision was to help decongest PUs and to give voters a healthy environment to exercise their civic responsibilities during elections.
Prof Shehu said, “There are over five million registered voters in Kano State, with 8,074 PUs and 3,148 VPs.
“As part of our reforms, INEC came up with the mandate of expanding voter access to PUs, and the committee has already recommended converting all these VPs to stand-alone PUs.
“If approved, Kano will now have a total of 11,222 PUs.
“INEC has created Voting Points, Baby Polling Units and Voting Polling Settlements in PUs with more than 500 voters, but that has still not solved the hardships voters face on election days,” he said.
The INEC REC said all the new PUs would be stationed in public places, adding that none will be situated in individual residences, palaces, houses of politicians or places of worship.
Also speaking, the INEC National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education, Barrister Festus Okoye, said the increase became necessary considering the population explosion, movement of people as well as evolving of new settlements and the commission’s need to be more inclusive and consultative.
Okoye said, “The last time INEC created new PUs was in 1996 when we had only 50 million registered voters. But, as of 2019, the number has exponentially grown to over 84 million.
“This action will seriously decongest our PUs, improve their health and safety and also address the problem of continuous decline in voters turnout during elections.
He, however, clarified that the exercise is not in any way going to add any number to registered voters in each state.
The INEC Commissioner also said, with the Continuous Voter Registration Exercise slated to resume on June 28, the commission had introduced an innovation where voters who are technology-savvy could begin their registration online, then proceed to their respective registration areas to have their biometrics and pictures captured.
This, according to him, is to further decongest the centres as well as make the process easier.
Daily Trust reports that the meeting had in attendance representatives of political parties in the state, heads of all security agencies in the state, traditional and religious leaders and non-governmental organisations.