Insecurity: INEC allays voter’s fears, improves access to Polling Units Ahead 2023
By Cyril Mbah, Abuja
Ahead 2023 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has allayed the fear of voters about insecurity, thuggery and inaccessibility to Polling Units during elections as part of ongoing efforts to reduce voter apathy and lack of participation in the electoral process in the country.
A Director in the Department of Geographical Information System of INEC, Mrs. Emeh Umoren disclosed that efforts have been intensified to improve voters’ access to polling units to address the reluctance of voters to participate in elections.
The INEC official made this known while responding to comments of concerned Nigerians, who contributed to Politics Nationwide- a Radio Nigeria current affairs phone-in programme monitored by our Correspondent in Abuja yesterday.
Callers had advocated for seamless access to Polling Units during elections as well as improved security for voters to reduce voter apathy and advance democracy in the nation, noting it as some of the challenges facing the electoral process in the country.
Many callers blamed voter apathy on insecurity, fear of political thugs, inadequate distribution of polling centres and the fact that people have lost confidence in elections because votes do not really count.
Two callers from Nasarawa and Kaduna State, Alhaji Musa Suleiman and Mohammed Mohammed called for increased political education for better enlightenment and increased security before, during and after every election to check the activities of thugs, ballot box snatching and politicians who induce voters with money and threats.
One of the callers, Mazi Patrick Uwakwe from Anambra State remarked that voters are usually beset with fear and confusion during every election because security personnel always appear unwilling to interfere in the activities of political thugs and he called for more Polling Units to help voters have better access to voting areas.
The general concern of contributors to the programme revolved around insecurity, lack of confidence in the efforts of INEC and security agents deployed to secure Polling areas to make votes count in the country as well as alleged connivance with the ruling and major political Parties to rig elections.
Contributors called for increased confidence-building measures to help improve voter participation in politics especially the voting process to advance democracy in Nigeria.
Concluding the discussion, the Director of INEC assured that the electoral commission has deployed cutting edge modern technologies and increased Polling Units across the country to improve participation of people and reduce voter apathy during elections.
Umoren disclosed that in the past six months, an additional 58,320 Polling Units were established to improve access to voting centers and discourage voter apathy.
The INEC official also stated that the agency has opened high-level discussions with security agencies to explore the possibility of increasing security aimed at reducing violence and other forms of electoral malpractices at the voting areas.
“Nigeria now has 176,846 Polling Units with the recent creation of an additional 66,872 Polling Areas and this will hopefully ensure seamless access by voters to Polling Areas to cast their votes”, the director informed.