INEC declares 176,606 PUs eligible to hold elections

  • Wants party chairmen to call their supporters to order


Uba Group

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared 176,606 Polling Units across the country eligible to hold elections, just as 240 Polling Units are without voters and therefore elections will not hold in those PUs.

The Commission stated that it has printed 1,632,386 Identification Cards for 1,575,301 PU Agents and 68,085 Collation Agents submitted by the political parties.

The INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu made this disclosure before going into a crucial closed door meeting with political parties’ leadership at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja on Monday.

Welcoming the party chieftains, Yakubu said “We have consistently assured the leaders of political parties that the Commission will regularly consult you with a view to bringing you up to date on the preparations for the forthcoming elections.

“Let me therefore start with the issue of polling units. You may recall that in 2021, with your support and that of other critical stakeholders, the Commission successfully expanded voter access to polling units 25 years after the last delimitation exercise in 1996. Consequently, the number of polling units increased from 119,973 to the current figure of 176,846.”

The INEC boss recalled that at previous meetings, the Commission also briefed IPAC on its efforts to redistribute voters to the polling units in order to avoid the congestion that made voting cumbersome in many of them nationwide.

“This requires the redistribution of voters to new polling units in proximate locations. Where they are separated by distance, this must be done after consultation with the voters. This has been done by our State offices nationwide. However, there are 240 polling units without registered voters spread across 28 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“They range from one polling unit to 12 polling units in each State and the FCT, except Taraba and Imo States with 34 and 38 polling units respectively. No new registrants chose the polling units and no voters indicated interest to transfer to them during the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), mainly for security reasons. This means that no elections will hold in these polling units.”

Yakubu added that in INEC’s avowed commitment to transparency, the Commission is making available to Nigerians a comprehensive list of these polling units by name, code number and their locations by State, Local Government and Registration Area.

“With this development, the number of polling units where elections will hold nationwide on 25th February 2023 and 11th March 2023 is now 176,606. Hard copies of the list are included in your folders for this meeting. Above all, Nigerians deserve the right to know the locations of these polling units. Accordingly, the soft copy of the list has been uploaded to our website and social media platforms for public information and guidance.”

He added that closely related to the distribution of voters is the identification of polling units. From the feedback the Commission received from its officials and accredited observers following the recent nationwide mock accreditation using the BVAS, it is clear that some voters could not easily identify their polling units.

“This should not happen on election day. Consequently, the Commission is advising voters to confirm the locations of their polling units through a dedicated portal on our website. In addition, all voters who have been assigned to new polling units will receive text messages from the Commission indicating their polling units.

“We have also compiled the register of such voters and our State offices will give it wide publicity, especially for those who may not have provided their telephone numbers during voter registration or those whose numbers may have changed. Voters can locate and confirm their polling units before election day by sending a regular text or WhatsApp message to a dedicated telephone number. Details of the simple procedure will be uploaded to our social media platforms shortly.

“As you are already aware, we have less than two weeks to the 2023 General Election. The Commission is finalising the issuance of 1,642,386 identification tags for the Polling and Collation Agents nominated by the 18 political parties made up of 1,574,301 Polling Agents and 68,085 Collation Agents. I urge the Chairmen and leaders of political parties to ensure that only agents accredited by the Commission and wearing the correct identification tags appear at polling units and collation centres during elections.

“A situation where two or more agents claim to represent a political party, resulting in commotion at polling units or collation centres, is unacceptable. Only Identification tags issued by the Commission will be recognised on election day and violators are liable to arrest and prosecution for impersonation.”

Turning to the ongoing electioneering campaigns, Yakubu said the Commission is concerned about violent attacks on supporters of political parties across the board, resulting in the loss of lives in some cases. “Let me once again appeal to Chairmen and leaders of political parties to continue to call your candidates and supporters to order. I also call on the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone involved in violent conduct, including incendiary statements capable of inciting a breach of the peace.”

Replying, National Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, Yabagi Yusuf Sani assured the Commission of the Council’s total support to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections in the forthcoming polls.


He said, “I am confident that, as it has always been in the past, IPAC and INEC will be coming away from the meeting more prepared to face the onerous historical challenge of conducting credible, transparent, and acceptable elections in 2023.

“Going further I wish to firstly reiterate the continual commitment of IPAC to the long standing cooperation and mutually beneficial relationship between us and INEC want to use this occasion to also reaffirm the confidence of IPAC in the leadership of INEC for its consistent demonstration of diligence, uncommon zeal and patriotism in the pursuit of the agencies statutory mandate.

“On the basis of our evaluation that INEC has been well on track, the leadership of IPAC additionally wishes to use this occasion to commend, the efforts of INEC in confronting the extraordinary environmental challenges occasioned by naira redesign and fuel scarcity through Mr. Chairman’s visit to the relevant agencies

“Usually, Siamese twin needed to be in constant agreement to enable them live together harmoniously. Also it is said that a case that is discussed does not usually cause trouble. It is on this philosophical note that I want to thank INEC and her Commissioners for constantly calling us to rub minds together because of Nigerian political project

“By what we hear and read in the news, your mock accreditation exercise was a success. That is very encouraging. As we know, a mock examination cannot be taken to be the real examination whose coverage is wider and complex. So far, the BVAS that were used were reported to have performed perfectly. We are encouraged by this and also wish to appreciate INEC while expecting them to keep the flag of perfection flying.”

Sani said the 2023 general elections will be a watershed in the history of elections in Nigeria adding that “today, the tide has changed, because an unknown Party could pull a surprise to the greatest chagrin of all. From this point of view, it is necessary to advise INEC to keep its date with history which must not be wasted.

“INEC should create a golden niche for herself especially the Chairman who has become the child of history, Nigerians are watching, the international community is watching and the Parties are palpitating: I therefore call on all Nigerians of good conscience to take credible results of the election the way it is. At worse. Parties should resort to the law court for adjudication. Today it is an abhorrence and crudity if not savagery to see States Governors denying campaign venues to political parties other than their own. This is crude, primitive and uncivilized.”

He, however, admonished party leaders that having observed that the elections are conducted free, fair and credible, the result should be accepted for the love of our country saying, “Mr. Chairman, under no circumstances should this election be postponed”.