By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it plans to meet with stakeholders in a few weeks time to address the inadequacies of Polling Units (PUs) in Nigeria.
INEC disclosed this in a statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye in Abuja on Tuesday.
Okoye said that the decision was reached at the end of its meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
The stakeholders, according to him include political parties, civil society organisations, religious leaders, traditional institutions, labour unions, socio-cultural organizations, various arms of the federal government, and States Government.
“The Commission met today Feb. 2 and deliberated on a number of issues including the finalised arrangements for the upcoming engagements with stakeholders on expanding voter access to PUs in Nigeria.
“For several weeks, the Commission has been preparing for these national engagements to address the inadequacies of PUs in Nigeria and the challenges they pose to election management.
“Some of these challenges include overcrowding, numerous unserved populations and poor locations, which are potentially disenfranchising millions of Nigerians, and also pose health risks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a national problem that calls for national consensus,” he said.
Okoye said that for several years INEC had tried to address this fundamental challenge to democratic consolidation and election administration with minimal success.
This, according to him, has been mainly due to inadequate engagement between the Commission and stakeholders.
“Consequently, he said that INEC resorted to interim measures such as creating Voting Points at Polling Units nationwide and establishing Voting Point Settlements in the Federal Capital Territory.
“These engagements will afford an opportunity for the Commission to consult with stakeholders in order to build a genuine national consensus to address the problem of declining voter access to polling units,” he said.
He appealed to stakeholders in the electoral process and Nigerians at large to work with INEC towards addressing the issue. (NAN)