From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Cross River has expanded voter access to polling units to 3281 in the state.
With the present restructuring, the 998 Voting Points in the State have been converted to full fledged Polling Units thereby bringing it to 3281 units.
These new Polling Units will be added to the existing 2283 Polling Units and this will increase the number of Polling Units in the state to 3281.
Speaking during a meeting with election stakeholders in Calabar, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Emmanuel Hart, said this is part of the nation-wide programme embarked upon by the commission expand voter access to polling unitts.
Hart said the activity was expedient as it was last carried out in 1996 being the last year Polling Units were created in the country, adding that the new arrangement will meet the aspirations of the peopl
He said: “The activity was varied out by the commission in 1996, being the last year Polling Units were created in the country by the commission.
“The commissions physical assessment of the polling units in the country in 2014 was able to expose the challenges faced by voters in many Polling Units in the country nationwide.
“Most Polling Units exceeded the designated figure of 500 voters resulting in long queues, violence and other electoral offences.
“This Development informed the need for the restructuring of Polling Units in order to make it easier for voters access during electoral activities.
“INEC in Cross River is happy to announce to you that when the proposed new Polling Units are verified a d approved by the commission, Cross River State will boast of an additional 998 Polling Units.
“The 998 PUs will be added to the existing 2283 Polling Units and will increase the number of PUs in the state to 3281”, the REC said.
He added that the 1,527,058 registered voters in the state and new registrants will have decongested Pus and this will help reduce voter apathy.
He emphasised that only public buildings/places were approved as location for Pus and places like private residences, religious centres, royal palaces, political party buildings and shrines are not allowed for location of PUs.
The National Commissioner representing the South/South, May Abanuche-Mbu, represented by Godwin Abuato Ushie, said the exercise will reduce stress during future elections and commended stakeholders for working with the Commission to ensure a seamless exercise.