The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged to partner with the National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, INEC said this at a consultative meeting with labour unions and professional associations on the expansion of voters access to polling units in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
Yakubu said at the meeting held physically and vertically, that the bill was critical to INEC, because it will provide legal framework for its activities.
He said the commission had been reassured by the National Assembly that work on the bill would be concluded in the next few months.
“Let me once again appeal to the National Assembly for expeditious consideration and passage of the bill.
“In addition, we are also preparing to engage with the leadership of the National Assembly on the issue of the division, revision and alteration of electoral constituencies in Nigeria.
“INEC discussion paper on the matter is being finalised,” he said.
Yakubu said INEC was encouraged by the outcome of stakeholders consultations on proposed Polling Units expansion.
“These consultations are helping us in formulating the guidelines on the option preferred by stakeholders as we proceed to the implementation stage which will also involve further consultations in the field.
“We are approaching this exercise systematically because it is central to democratic elections. Voter access to polling units gives meaning to the right to vote.
“Without access to convenient voting locations on election day, the right to vote is undermined and therefore meaningless,” he said.
Yakubu assured that INEC was pursuing the expansion of voter access to polling units and reform of the electoral legal framework through the quick passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill.
He said that the commission was also working hard on the resumption of Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).
“This will enable individuals who have not registered before or those that may wish to transfer their registration to other areas where they wish to vote in future elections to do so.
“We are also working on new innovations to deepen the deployment of technology to improve electoral integrity in Nigeria.
“INEC shall remain focused on these and other important issues. For this reason, we appeal to labour unions and professional associations to continue to support us,” he said.
Yakubu reassured stakeholders in three states where constituencies by-elections would hold that the commission was ready.
“Again, like all the elections held since August 2020, results from the polling units will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) for public view in real-time on Election Day,” he said.
The by-election include Ekiti East State Constituency 1, Ekiti State; the Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency bye-election in Abia; and the Isoko North State Constituency in Delta.
Hajiya Sa’a Ibrahim, Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BOS), advised INEC to remove all Polling Units located in compounds of traditional, religious and political leaders.
Ibrahim, represented by the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Elections Debate Group, Mr Eddie Emessiri, said the action was imperative to ensure that all eligible voters have access to polling units.
“These are some of the things that give INEC bad names during elections,” he said.
Ibrahim commended INEC for providing rich data on the proposed expansion of Polling Units.
“If the data is meticulously followed you may not have problem. But where it is not followed that is where problem will come up,” he said.