The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that no election will be held in 240 polling units across 28 states of the federation during the upcoming general elections. The decision is based on the fact that these polling units have no registered voters, with no new registrants choosing them and no voters indicating an interest in transferring to them during the last continuous voter registration exercise, mainly for security reasons.
The move has generated mixed reactions, with some people applauding the decision while others are raising concerns about voter apathy and disenfranchisement. Those in support of the move believe that it is a necessary step to ensure the security of voters and election officials, given the current security challenges in some parts of the country. They argue that it is better to err on the side of caution, especially in areas with a history of electoral violence and insecurity.
On the other hand, those who oppose the decision argue that it is a violation of the rights of citizens to vote and be voted for. They say that the decision could lead to voter apathy, as some voters may feel that their votes do not count, and this could have far-reaching implications for the legitimacy of the elections. They also raise concerns about the impact of the decision on voter turnout, as some voters may be discouraged from participating in the elections, knowing that their polling units will not be open for voting.
However, INEC has assured voters that those assigned to new polling units will receive text messages to know their new polling units before the February 25 and March 11, 2023 general elections. Voters can also locate and confirm their polling units before the general elections by sending regular texts or WhatsApp messages to a dedicated telephone number, which will be uploaded on INEC social media platforms. This is a welcome development, as it shows that INEC is committed to ensuring that all eligible voters participate in the upcoming general elections.
The decision by INEC not to hold elections in 240 polling units across 28 states during the upcoming general elections has generated mixed reactions. While some people support the decision, others are raising concerns about the impact on voter turnout and disenfranchisement. However, with the assurance by INEC that voters will be informed of their new polling units and can confirm their locations before the general elections, it is hoped that all eligible voters will participate in the upcoming general elections and the will of the people will prevail.
Find the list of the affected polling units below: