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Lagos, Kano lead as INEC creates 56,872 new polling units

…North, FCT – 31, 196; South – 25,676 …announces dates for Ekiti, Osun guber polls

Lagos and Kano states have been given the lion’s share in the newly created 56, 872 polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). While Lagos was allocated 4, 861 polling units, Kano State was given 3, 148 polling units. Ekiti State, however, has the least with 250 polling units, followed by Bayelsa with 440 polling units.

The statistics further showed that the 19 Northern states and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have a total of 31, 196 polling units while the 17 Southern states were allocated 25, 676 polling units. The new polling units have brought the number of polling units in Nigeria to 176, 846.

It was also learnt that the new polling units became operational with the November 6 Anambra governorship election. Before the addition, the number of polling units in the country was 119, 974. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the new polling units at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja on Thursday, said the Commission has broken the jinx of polling units creation, which has dogged the nation since 1996. Prof. Yakubu explained that the Commission embarked on the exercise as a result of the inadequacy and lack of accessibility of the existing polling units in terms of number and location.

He stated that the new creation was done after consultations with stakeholders and fieldwork by INEC officials, and said that: “The 56,872 voting points and voting point settlements were converted and added to the existing 119,974 polling units. “Consequently, the commission is glad to report that 25 years since the current polling units were created in 1996, the hard nut is finally and successfully cracked after several unsuccessful attempts. “Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged Polling Units.” According to the INEC Chairman, the number of new polling units in a state is the number of voting points aggregated from those polling units having voting points.

“Furthermore, it was discovered that one poll- ing unit in Lagos State had been wrongly categorised as a voting point and the error was corrected. “With this adjustment, the actual number of approved polling units came to 119,974. As a result, the Commission arrived at the exact figure of 56,563 voting points in addition to 309 voting point settlements in the FCT, making a total of 56,872 voting points.”

Yakubu further explained that voting points were tied to the existing polling units and voting point settlements. He added: “The number of registered voters in a polling unit and the voting point settlement in the FCT, was used to determine their voting points, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively.

These were also the limits used for the 2019 general election.” Yakubu disclosed that INEC also made efforts to relocate many polling units from inappropriate places such as private residences and properties, palaces of traditional rulers and places of worship to public buildings, to make them accessible to voters, polling agents, observers and the media during elections. To this end, he stated that a total of 749 polling units, which were inappropriately located, have been relocated to public facilities or open spaces ‘in line with our policy to guarantee unencumbered access to polling units for all voters.” Out of this figure, he disclosed, nine were located in shrines, six in mosques, 21 in churches and 145 in royal palaces. “The remaining 336 polling units were relocated for various reasons which include distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements and general insecurity,” Yakubu said.

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