The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced the addition of 56,872 more polling units in various parts of the country ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The electoral commission chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced on Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, that the decision was made in a bid to expand voters’ access to the polling units.
“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,” Mr Yakubu stated, “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.”
At least 749 polling units were removed from inappropriate facilities, with nine of them from shrines and several others from religious houses, royal palaces, and private property to enable access to voters, polling agents, observers, and the media during elections.
Mr Yakubu had explained the difficulty faced by the body in creating and expanding polling units in Nigeria, adding that adequacy and accessibility were challenges to be addressed in the interest of credible elections.
Before 2010, Mr Yakubu said the body operated on a round figure of 120,000 polling units, but a census of polling units taken before the 2011 elections pegged it at 119,973 polling units, with the announcement, Nigeria now has a total of 176,846 polling units.
The move comes as part of preparations ahead of the 2023 general elections, where the electoral body fixed Saturday, February 18, 2023, for the date of the next presidential elections.