Expansion of polling units will discourage voter apathy – Osun INEC REC

For the remaining 753 Voting Points in Osun to be converted to Polling Units, the national headquarter of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has to ratify the reports of the expansion of voter access to Polling Units.

This was revealed in an address delivered by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje at the stakeholders meeting on expansion of voter access to Polling Units held Thursday, 6th May 2021 in Osogbo.

Agbaje said the ongoing expansion exercise though geared towards the 2023 General Elections can still be used for the 2022 gubernatorial election in Osun State.

The REC explained that the reason for embarking on the expansion of voter access to Polling Units was done to address the issue of inadequate Polling Units and its attendant challenges as prescribed by the Electoral Act 2010, Section 42.

Agbaje who said that presently, Osun has 3,010 Polling Units with a voting population of 1,680,498 registered voters added that the current polling units in the state are inadequate for the available voters as a result of population growth and the establishment of new settlements in many areas across the state.

He said the situation has contributed to the apathy that characterised past elections conducted by the Commission.

Agbaje states that the objectives of the exercise include; “expansion of voter access to Polling Units by converting existing voting points and voting point settlements into full Polling Units and where necessary, relocating new and existing ones to places where they are closer to and more accessible for voters and the Commission.

“Decongest existing Polling Units by reducing the number of voters per Polling Units, improve health and safety conditions at Polling Units during elections to comply with COVID-19 protocols, address declining voter turnout at elections due to lack of access to Polling Units and continue to improve the quality of access to electoral services provided to all Nigerian voters by the Commission, including better access at Polling Units for Persons With Disability (PWD).”

He noted that INEC has decided to take the polling units very close to the homes of the electorate since that has always been one of the complaints, that the Polling Units are far from the places of abode.

In his goodwill message, the Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode accused the political players of sponsoring violence during elections which leads to voter apathy on the part of the electorate.

While calling on stakeholders to play a major role in making the exercise a success, he expressed fear that open space arrangements may lead to issues during elections.

The representative of Oba AbdulRasheed Akanbi, Oluwo of Iwo, Chief Imran Moruf called on politicians to support the efforts of INEC in the state adding that it is God that assigns persons to positions.