The Independent National Electoral Commission has promised to make polling units more accessible to voters nationwide ahead of 2023 general elections.
Nick Dazang, Director of Voter Education and Publicity at INEC, made the promise at a stakeholders’ workshop held on Tuesday in Akure.
Dazang said that it has become imperative for the commission to move with time and take advantage of the benefits of social media to educate stakeholders.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that INEC, in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) organised the two-day Train-the-Trainers’
He said that the workshop was part of efforts to strengthen voter education and public enlightenment at the grassroots and to also address the problem of declining voter access to polling units.
According to him, this has become imperative because voter education strategies keep changing with the introduction of technology.
“Most of our youths are now on social media more than before.
“Today, INEC and IFES organise voter education manual review, validation and training of trainers workshop for voter education staff in southern states and Abuja.
“Already we have developed a manual to be used in training the Head of Department of voter education and publicity in the state.
“They will in turn train their own staff in the state,’’ he said.
Dazang said that the commission had received no fewer than 9,000 requests for the creation of more polling units, adding that the commission had started to consult stakeholders across the country.
The director said that the commission intended to expand voter’s access to polling units as the existing ones were created about 25 years ago.
“Many of voters today were born at that period.
“It means some of them don’t have access to polling units where they can vote.
“There are many districts and communities that have come up or expanded since 1996.
“So far, we have consulted with the leadership of political parties, civil societies and people with disabilities, media, Arewa Consultative Forum and the national economic council.
“This week, we will meet with the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council.
“We intend to continue the consultation with Afenifere leaders, Ohanieze Ndigbo, middle belt forum with frontline leaders of federal base organisations and traditional rulers to let them understand our determination to establish polling units,’’ he said.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to have trust in INEC to enable it to conduct free, fair and credible election in the country.
Dr Rufus Akeju, Residence Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Ondo State, said that the workshop was organised to correct the atrocities of voters during the elections.
Akeju also said that the training would help the INEC staff to educate electorate.
“It has been major concerns of the commission to address inadequacies of the polling units across the country and other electoral challenges,’’ the REC said.
According to him, the electoral body has been concerned by the poor voting pattern and turnouts in past elections, which in most times, result in high invalidated votes and riots.
He expressed optimism that the workshop would improve the conduct of the electorates at the polling units during the next elections.