Anambra Poll: Why election won’t hold in 86 polling units, by INEC

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By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja

Ahead of next week’s governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that there will be no voting in 86 of the 5,720 Polling Units (PUs) in the state because they have no voters.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this at a special consultative meeting with political parties, yesterday, in Abuja, also disclosed that 894 (15.6 per cent) of the PUs could only boast of one to 49 voters.

The INEC boss, however, said the commission would not deploy personnel and materials to the PUs without voters. He explained that the Anambra governorship election would be the first that voting is taking place in PUs since the recent conversion of voting points to PUs in the country.

According to him, additional 1,112 PUs were established in Anambra, to complement the existing 4,608 locations, which brought the number of PUs to 5,720.

He said though voters were encouraged to seize the opportunity of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) to transfer to the new PUs most convenient for them, many refused do so.

This, according him, could be partly attributed to the security situation in the state, which, he explained, affected the commission’s pre-election outdoor activities, including voter education and sensitisation.

“Understandably, the voters have also been more circumspect in asking for transfer to polling units. At the same time, the commission did not use its powers under Section 42 of the Electoral Act 2010 to allot voters to the new PUs to minimise the disruptions that may occur from such a decision in view of the forthcoming governorship election.

“Consequently, out of the 5,720 PUs in Anambra, 86 (1.5 per cent) have no voters. For that reason, the commission will not be deploying personnel and materials to the (empty) PUs. Further, 894 (15.6 per cent) have between one and 49 voters. Election will hold in these PUs,” he said.

The INEC boss expressed the commission’s commitment to work with stakeholders to ensure that all PUs have voters allotted to them ahead of the 2023 general election.

Speaking on the commission’s preparation for the election, Yakubu disclosed that all non-sensitive materials had been moved to the 21 local councils of the State. He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was handling the delivery of sensitive materials to the state on schedule.

“Our state office in Awka is arranging for stakeholders to inspect the materials at the premises of the CBN in Awka. As is the case in all elections, the sensitive materials are moved under security escort to each local council from where they are distributed to the Registration Areas (RAs) or wards and finally to PUs on election day,” he added. The INEC boss urged the parties to present their agents to be present for inspection of the materials at the CBN office.

Credit: Guardian.

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