The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday commenced training of its Heads of Electoral Operations across the 36 states and the FCT on modalities for the expansion of Polling Units.
INEC National Commissioner, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, said the two-day workshop in Abuja was to build the capacity of officers on the proposed conversion of voting points to PUs across the country.
Ibeanu, who is the Chairman, INEC Committee on Electoral Operations and Logistics, said the workshop was critical in the implementation of the process aimed at deepening voters’ participation in future electoral processes.
He said the training was an important activity towards the realisation of the objectives of a journey, which started few months ago.
He disclosed that there were 10,092 requests before the commission for polling units creation across the country.
Ibeanu said: “The availability of polling units to voters has been dwindling and efforts to expand it has been unsuccessful because the commission has not been tactical in its approach.
“Hence, the renewed effort to start consultations and engagements with stakeholders across the country to seek a buy – in to solve the problem that has affected the electoral system in the past 25 years.”
Ibeanu said that in the process, a guideline was produced, but there was need for implementation of the guidelines to achieve the aims.
He said: “To get the guidelines strictly followed, there must be adequate training of field operation officers who are heads of electoral operation in all the states who will be the anchor of the implementation.
“The workshop is to ensure they are equipped with the methodology needed in carrying out the exercise.”
Ibeanu added that the heads of operations were expected to replicate the training in their respective states to officers at the local government areas.
He said the training needed to be concluded before the commencement of the Continuous Voters Registration exercise on June 28.
Ibeanu said that INEC was working to address challenges hindering eligible voters from participating in the electoral process before the general elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education and information Committee, Chief Festus Okoye, maintained that relocation of PUs would provide ample opportunities for new registrants to easily have access to polling units.
Okoye assured Nigerians that INEC would continue to engage the National Assembly to expedite action on amending the Electoral Act.
This, according to Okoye, is to accommodate new initiatives that will enhance more participation of eligible voters in the country.