A total of 1,374 new polling units have been created in Akwa Ibom State by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), bringing the total polling units in the state to 4,354.
Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, announced this Saturday in Uyo at a “stakeholders briefing” on the expansion of voters access and establishment of new polling units.
Igini said the exercise was entirely data driven and status neutral, stressing that despite the increased number of registered voters the access to polling units has remained constant in the last 25 years. This, he said, informed the creation of new polling units.
Mr Igini said polling units in the state had witnessed over-crowding in previous elections as a result of the phenomenal increase in the number of registered voters which, according to him, now stood at 2,119,727.
He said the situation has become a discouraging factor for voters participation in the voting process, resulting in delays, disruptions, and violence and voter apathy which necessitated the creation of new polling units.
“By 2023 General Election, Nigeria will be conducting a centenary Election – 100 years of efforts at conducting democratic elections.
“With the astronomical increase in the number of registered voters, the existing polling units created in 1996 that were projected to serve about 50 million registered voters, however, served 57.93 million (1999), 60.82 million (2003), 61.56 (2007),73.52 million (2011), 68.83 (2015) and 84,004,084 (2019) registered voters.
“Akwa Ibom State alone that was only a part of the old Calabar Municipality with just 453 registered voters then, now has 2,119,727 registered voters. This is expected to increase after the commencement of Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).
“This phenomenal increase in the number of registered voters relative to the limited number of polling units (2,980) coupled with the emergence of new settlements has led to over-crowded and over-congested polling units across the country and here in Akwa Ibom State.