Nigerians will have more access to Polling Units (PUS) to elect leaders of their choice in future polls, particularly the 2023 general elections.
The electoral process has in the past 25 years been constrained by overcrowding, numerous unserved populations and poor locations, which potentially disenfranchised millions of Nigerians, and also pose health risks with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
But the solution to these challenges started emerging on Friday when 16 out of the 17 registered political parties gave the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the nod to expand access to Polling Units.
This was contained in a communique’ issued at the end of a stakeholders consultative meeting between INEC and political parties in Abuja, signed by either National Chairmen or Secretaries of the political parties, except those of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) who sent apologies for been absent.
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According to the communique’, the parties agreed that INEC should commence the process of converting the existing Voting Points (VPS) and Voting Point Settlements ( VPS) nationwide into full-fledged Polling Units immediately, based on clearly articulated guidelines to be developed by INEC and shared with stakeholders.
They also concurred that there was merit in the INEC proposal of converting the existing and well known Voting Points (VPS) and Voting Point Settlements (VPS) nationwide into full-fledged Polling Units to address the problem of voter access.
“Given the current state of access to polling units in Nigeria, expanding access to Polling Units is fundamental in the exercise of the right to vote and to free fair and credible elections.
“In expanding access, it is important and necessary to consult with leaders of Political Parties and other relevant stakeholders to develop a consensus and build trust.
“There should be further consultations between INEC and the Political Parties to ensure the successful expansion of voter access to Polling Units.
“Stakeholders should support INEC’s efforts to expand voter access to Polling Units and avoid politicizing the issues involved”, the communique’ read in parts.