The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it is considering creating additional polling units across the country before the 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said this in a statement issued by the commission’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi on Thursday in Abuja.
The statement quoted Yakubu to be giving the hint when he received Geographic Information System, GIS, support equipment donated by the European Centre for Electoral Support, ECES, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mr Yakubu said that at the moment Nigeria had 119,973 polling units, more than 57,000 voting points, making a total of more than 180,000 polling units and voting points.
“Yet, if you look at some of the satellite images and you place dots on spots where there are polling units in relation to the vast area where we have no polling units.
“So, GIS in our operation with the equipment that we have will be a great facilitator in the efforts of the commission in that respect,’’ he observed.
Mr Yakubu said that the Commission was already collaborating with the National Population Commission, NPC, to achieve the objective of delimiting constituencies and creating new polling units that would cater for the voting needs of Nigeria’s increasing population.
The INEC chairman appreciated the support of the development partners and acknowledged that the donated equipment would assist the commission in area of delimitation of constituencies which was one of the constitutional responsibilities of INEC.
“Your assistance will be great in addition to what we have been trying to do; the commission is considering the possibility of creating additional polling units before the 2023 general elections.
“Nigeria is a huge country, the population is rising and each time I and the commissioners travel around the country; we see new settlements emerging.
“We wonder how would these new settlements be served by polling units so that Nigerians do not have to travel long distances to vote on election day,” Mr Yakubu said.
National Commissioner in charge of the GIS Laboratory, Dr Mohammed Lecky said “the GIS laboratory in which the donated equipment will be utilized was part of the INEC Strategic Plan and Strategic Plan of Action.
The plan of action, according Lecky is designed to improve access to accurate, complete and geospatially referenced high-resolution electoral data for decision making across all functions of the commission.
“Over the course of its value-added work, the INEC GIS laboratory would collect, store, process and make available electoral spatial delimitation data.
“This will include generating directional spatial maps for election day activities and making available atlas of results of elections using adequately trained staff in mobile spatial data collection technology’’, Lecky said.
The Programme Coordinator of ECES, Maria Mauro, commended the commission’s continued efforts at improving the electoral system.
Mauro said ECES would continue to assist the commission in a variety of ways to achieve its goals.