The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednannounced the creation of additional 56, 872 Polling Units (PUS) across the country.
With the new units, Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged PUs.
A breakdown of the 176,846 PUs shows Lagos topping the list with 13,390. It is followed by Kano with 11,222 and Kaduna with 8,012.
Zonal analysis of the PUs, has the Northwest topping with 41,671 followed by Southwest with 34,868. Northcentral has 27,514; Southsouth, 27, 126; Northwest, 24, 806 and Southeast, 21,631.
A further breakdown of the PUs shows that in the Southwest, Oyo State has 6,390; Ogun, 5, 042; Osun, 3,763; Ondo, 3, 933 and Ekiti, 2,445.
Anambra State has 5,720 poling units out of the 21,631 created in the Southeast. Enugu State has 4,145; Imo State, 4,759; Abia State, 4, 062 and Ebonyi State, 2,946.
In the Southsouth, Delta State has 5,863; Edo State, 4,519; Rivers State, 6,866; Akwa Ibom State 4,353; Cross River State, 3, 281 and Bayelsa State 2, 244.
In the Northcentral, Benue State has 5, 106 PUs; Niger State, 4,950; Plateau State, 4, 989; Kogi State, 3, 508; Nasarawa State, 3,256; Kwara State, 2,887 and FCT, 2, 822.
Borno State has the highest number of PUs in the Northeast with 5,871 followed by Bauchi State with 5,423. Adamawa State has 4,104 PUs; Taraba State, 3,597; Gombe State 2,988 and Yobe State, 2, 823.
In the Northwest, Kano State tops with 11,222; Kaduna State, 8,012; Katsina State, 6,652; Jigawa State, 4,522; Sokoto State, 3,991; Kebbi State, 3,743 and Zamfara State, 3,529.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakabu said in Abuja yesterday that the new PUs were historical because they were achieved 25 years after previous attempts.
Yakabu added that 749 old PUs were relocated from “inappropriate locations” to appropriate public facilities or open spaces.
Out of the 749, “232 were removed from private properties; 145 from palaces; six from mosques; 21 from churches and nine from shrines.”
The INEC boss explained that “distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements and general insecurity “ informed the relocation.
Yakubu disclosed that “for subsequent elections, beginning from the Anambra State Governorship poll holding on 6th November 2021, there will be no voting points any more in Nigeria.”
Yakubu said ”The history of creating and expanding polling units in Nigeria has been long and complex. Their adequacy and accessibility in terms of number and location across the country were some of the challenges that had to be addressed in the interest of credible elections.
“Before 2010, INEC operated on a round figure of approximately 120,000 polling units. However, a census undertaken by the commission before the 2011 general elections arrived at the precise figure of 119,973 polling units.
“The commission also made efforts to relocate many polling units from inappropriate places such as private residences and properties, palaces of traditional rulers and places of worship to public buildings accessible to voters, polling agents, observers and the media during elections.
“Following several unsuccessful attempts to create additional polling units despite the obvious pressure from increased number of registered voters, the commission established voting points and voting point settlements across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as a pragmatic response to necessity.
“The voting points were tied to the existing polling units and voting point settlements.
”The number of registered voters in a polling unit and the voting point settlement in the FCT, was used to determine their voting points, based on the upper and lower thresholds of 500 and 750 voters respectively. These were also the limits used for the 2019 general elections. The number of new polling units in a state is the number of voting points aggregated from those polling units having voting points.
”Furthermore, it was discovered that one polling unit in Lagos State had been wrongly categorised as a voting point and the error was corrected. With this adjustment, the actual number of approved polling units came to 119,974.
”As a result, the commission arrived at the exact figure of 56,563 voting points in addition to 309 voting settlements in the FCT, making a total of 56,872 voting points.
“After wide ranging consultations with stakeholders and fieldwork by our officials, the 56,872 voting points and voting point settlements were converted and added to the existing 119,974 polling units. Consequently, the commission is glad to report that 25 years since the current polling units were created in 1996, the hard nut is finally and successfully cracked after several unsuccessful attempts. Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged polling units.
“Similarly, after consultation with stakeholders, the commission has successfully removed 749 polling units from inappropriate locations to appropriate public facilities or open spaces in line with our policy to guarantee unencumbered access to polling units for all voters.
“Of this figure, 232 were removed from private properties, 145 from royal palaces, six from mosques, 21 from churches and nine from shrines. The remaining 336 polling units were relocated for various reasons which include distance, difficult terrain, congestion, communal conflict, new settlements and general insecurity.”