No election in 240 polling units nationwide, says INEC


By Aaron Ossai

Barely 12 days to the presidential election; the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said that there will be no election in 240 polling units nationwide.

Speaking at a meeting with the leaders of political parties in Abuja, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the affected polling units spread across 28 states and Abuja are without registered voters.

He said they ranged from one polling unit to 12 polling units in each State and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, except Taraba and Imo States with 34 and 38 polling units respectively.

“No new registrants chose the polling units and no voters indicated interest to transfer to them during the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), mainly for security reasons. This means that no elections will hold in these polling units.

“In our avowed commitment to transparency, the Commission is making available to Nigerians a comprehensive list of these polling units by name, code number and their locations by State, Local Government and Registration Area.

“With this development, the number of polling units where elections will hold nationwide on 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023 is now 176,606.

“Hard copies of the list are included in your folders for this meeting. Above all, Nigerians deserve the right to know the locations of these polling units. Accordingly, the soft copy of the list has been uploaded to our website and social media platforms for public information and guidance”, the Chairman explained.

Speaking further, Yakubu said the Commission will redistribute voters to other polling units with less number of registered voters in order to avoid the congestion that made voting cumbersome in many of them nationwide.

This, he said, requires the redistribution of voters to new polling units in proximate locations where they are separated by distance explaining however that “this must be done after consultation with the voters” which he said has been done by its State offices nationwide

“Closely related to the distribution of voters is the identification of polling units. From the feedback we received from our officials and accredited observers following the recent nationwide mock accreditation using the BVAS, it is clear that some voters could not easily identify their polling units.

“This should not happen on Election Day. Consequently, the Commission is advising voters to confirm the locations of their polling units through a dedicated portal on our website.

“In addition, all voters who have been assigned to new polling units will receive text messages from the Commission indicating their polling units. We have also compiled the register of such voters and our State offices will give it wide publicity, especially for those who may not have provided their telephone numbers during voter registration or those whose numbers may have changed.

“Voters can locate and confirm their polling units before Election Day by sending a regular text or WhatsApp message to a dedicated telephone number. Details of the simple procedure will be uploaded to our social media platforms shortly”, he added.

He expressed concern about violent attacks on supporters of political parties across the board which has resulted in loss of life in some cases and appealed to Chairmen and leaders of political parties to continue to call their candidates and supporters to order.

The Chairman also called on the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in violent conduct, including incendiary statements capable of inciting a breach of the peace.