By David Adeoye
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Saturday, engaged relevant stakeholders in Oyo State on the rationale behind the conversion of the existing voting points into full polling units.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mr Mutiu Agboke, while addressing the stakeholders, said that the commission had decided to start early engagement on the urgency of voters having access to polling units.
Agboke said that INEC had received many requests regarding creation of more polling units, adding that the existing ones were inadequate.
He said that the inadequacy of the existing polling units had made the commission to look into the guidelines to expand voters’ access to polling units.
“Among the objectives of the exercise being carried out by the commission is expanding voter access to polling units by converting existing voting points and settlements into full polling units.
“And also where necessary, relocating new and existing ones to places where they are closer or more accessible to voters as well as decongest existing polling units by reducing the number of voters per polling unit.
“Another objective is to continue to improve the quality of access to electoral services provided to all voters by the commission, including better access to polling units for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“Also, to improve health and safety conditions at polling units during elections in order to comply with COVID-19 protocols, and to address declining voter turnout at elections due to lack of access to polling units.” he said.
Agboke, who disclosed that the state had 1,607 voting points and 4,783 polling units, said with the conversion of the voting points, the state would now have 6,390 polling units.
He further intimated the stakeholders that continuous voter registration (CVR) would commence on June 28 and last till the third quarter of 2022.
Agboke further explained that the commission was migrating from Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM) to INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED), which, said, was based on an android tablets.
He urged eligible individuals to seize the opportunity of the exercise to fulfill their important civic responsibility of voting.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the stakeholders at the occasion, in their separate remarks, commended INEC for organising the event and furnishing them with relevant information on activities of the commission.
The stakeholders also reiterated their unflinching support for and cooperation with the commission in its efforts at preparing adequately for the conduct of credible and fair elections in 2023.
They lauded INEC for converting voting points to polling units, submitting that such decision would reduce some of the challenges usually facing voters during elections.
NAN reports that three serving members of House of Representatives, Mr Shina Peller (Iseyin/ Itesiwaju/Iwajowa/Kajola Federal Constituency); Mrs Tolulope Akande-Sadipe (Oluyole) and Dr Muraina Ajibola (Ibarapa North and Ibarapa Central), were present at the meeting.
Also in attendance were the state Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mrs Folaje Ayoola; members of Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), led by the Chairman, Mr Adegbenro Fagbemi and representatives of security agencies in the state. (NAN)