Election stakeholders in Kaduna on Saturday appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission to use indigenous languages to sensitise indigenes about voter registration slated for June.
The stakeholders spoke at an interactive session with INEC officials on the proposed conversation of voting points to polling units.
They also urged the commission to use traditional/religious leaders to sensitise Nigerians about the exercise.
INEC had proposed to convert 2,910 voting points into pulling units across the 23 LGAs in Kaduna State.
The stakeholders included Inter Party Advisory Council, National Orientation Agency, Arewa Consultative Forum and Christian Association of Nigeria.
The others included Jamaatul Nasril Islam, National Road Transport Workers, National Road Transport Owners and women groups.
Alhaji Lawal Umar Mayere, Chairman of ACF, Kaduna State, called for massive sensitisation of the electorate to participate in the next voter registration.
Mayere said the commission and NOA should embark on grassroots campaigns and involve traditional rulers and religious leaders for success.
According to him, the use of town criers and other local communication mechanisms would be more impactful and increase participation.
Similarly, Munkail Abubakar, Chairman of IPAC in the state; Bature Yusuf Suleiman of NURTW; Umar Suleiman of NARTO; and Ibrahim Isa Kufena of JNI suggested the use of indigenous languages such as Hausa in Kaduna State for the sensitisation.
The representative of CAN, Jacob Dauda, lauded INEC’s efforts at creating more polling units for voters to exercise their franchise with ease.
Dauda, however, urged the commission to consider new communities that migrated to new areas after the last creation of pulling units in 1996.
The state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Adamu Yusuf, urged INEC to engage the media, both conventional and social, for the success of the exercise.
The stakeholders pledged their support for the commission toward ensuring the success of the exercise ahead of general elections.
Earlier, the National Commissioner of INEC, Malam Muhammed Haruna, said the commission had proposed to convert 2,910 voting points into pulling units in Kaduna State.
Haruna said with the conversion, the state would have 8,012 pulling units from the earlier 5,102 across its 23 local government areas.
The National Commissioner said the conversion was necessary to meet current demands, noting that polling units were reviewed last in the country in 1996 and there were 119,973 polling units serving 50 million registered voters.
According to him, with the increase in Nigeria’s population, INEC had registered 87 million eligible voters in the country, hence the need to expand and establish new polling units to accommodate new voters.
He said: “The commission had in the last three electoral cycles made use of voting points and voting points settlements as interim solutions for declaring voter access to polling units.
“These are well known by stakeholders and accepted by voters.
“Consequently, converting them to full-fledged polling units is a cost effective and timely way of addressing the problem.
“We are going to convert the voting points into polling units in order not to disenfranchise eligible voters.”
Haruna said the commission had developed guidelines for the exercise with a threshold of 750 voters as maximum and 500 voters as minimum in a polling unit.
“There is going to be a registration that will commence soon (June) for which I call on those who are due for registration to ensure that they register,” he said.
The Acting Resident Electoral Commissioner and Administrative Secretary of the Commission in Kaduna, Alhaji Awwal Mashi, assured that the proposed polling units would be sited in places accessible to the voters.
Mashi said such places would be non-sectarian locations such as town/community halls, health centres, court premises, recreational centres and spacious facilities that would adequately seat election officials, political party agents, election observers and voters.