By Zubairu Idris
The CENI on Monday blamed electoral violence and voter apathy on population growth and insufficient voting units.
“The current 119,973 electoral units, which have been created since 1996, served as polling stations until the 2019 general elections,” said Jibril Zarewa, resident electoral commissioner of INEC in Katsina state.
“This despite the increase in the electoral population from 53 million in 1999 to 85 million in 2019,” he added.
Zarewa spoke about the start of a two-day workshop for INEC field officers on the proposal to convert voting points into poling units.
“Over the years, the CENI has faced several challenges when it comes to polling stations due to population growth, demographic changes, the growth of new settlements and the expansion of towns and villages.
“This makes the existing polling stations inadequate.
“Many voting units are overcrowded during elections; it resulted in delays, disruption, violence and voter apathy.
“Voters’ access to polling stations is fundamental for our elections and for democracy,” he said.
“The locations of some voting units also make access very difficult, especially for people with disabilities,” Zarewa added.
He said there were 4,902 polling stations in Katsina state which received 2.7 million voters in 1999, adding that the number of voters rose to around 3.3 million in 2019.
He explained that this informed the creation of 1,750 additional polling points in the state to bring the total number of polling centers to 6,652 in order to reduce congestion.
Zarewa said INEC would begin “continuous voter registration” on June 28 to allow eligible people to obtain the permanent voter registration card.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the workshop was organized for election officials and election assistants from the 34 local government regions in Katsina State. (NOPE)
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