The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said it will not be deploying electoral materials and personnel in 86 of the 5,720 polling units in Anambra State during the November 6 Governorship Election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this Friday in Abuja at a special consultative meeting with political parties said there are yet no registered voters in the affected units.
The disclosure came as the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC also announced the deployment of 20, 000 officers and men to complement sister-security agencies in ensuring a free, fair and credible election in the state.
Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi disclosed this on yesterday in Abuja in his keynote address at the opening of a 3-day “Train the Trainers Capacity Building and Electoral Workshop” in preparation for the Anambra election.
“There are flash points. The Corps in collaboration with other Security Agencies have developed strategies to checkmate any act of electoral violence and other nefarious activities capable of undermining the electoral process. Any act of sabotage and negative tendencies to frustrate democracy and good governance in this election will be severely dealt with.
“The risk factors associated with election has been aggravated by other security threats such as, Separatist agitators (IPOB, ESN) kidnapping, thuggery, ballot box snatching and electoral frauds. To ensure effective monitoring before, during and after the election, the NSCDC will be deploying 20,000 officers and men for the conduct of the election.
“The personnel to be deployed for this national assignment will be draftted from all the South-South and South-East State Commands to join their counterparts in Anambra State. In addition, personnel from Kogi, Ekiti, Ondo and Benue have been placed on standby in case there is need for reinforcement.
“The Corps shall deploy officers from the Special Forces, such as the Arms Squad Unit, Counter Terrorism unit, Anti-vandal unit, Intelligence and Investigations, Canine unit, SWAT unit, Chemical Biological Radiological and Explosives Unit (CBRNE) to all key points in the State to protect lives and property, sensitive and non-sensitive election materials, INEC officials and all critical assets against vandalism, damage or arsonist attacks”, said Dr Audi
While elections will not hold in 86 Polling Units, INEC said it would however conduct the exercise in other units including 894 polling units which have less than 50 registered voters.
Yakubu said; “Three weeks ago, the Commission published the register of voters for the Anambra Governorship election on 7th October 2021 i.e. 30 days to the election as required by law. Each of the 18 political parties was given a soft copy of the register.
“In addition to meeting the requirement of the law, the presentation of the register is significant for another reason. The Anambra Governorship election will be the first first that voting is taking place in polling units since the recent successful conversion of voting points arising from the expansion of voter access to polling units in Nigeria. An additional 1,112 polling units were established in Anambra State in addition to the existing 4,608 locations. This brings the total number of polling units in the State to 5,720.
“Voters were encouraged to seize the opportunity of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise to transfer to the new polling units most convenient for them. Many did not do so. This can be partly attributed to the security situation in the State which has affected the Commission’s pre-election outdoor activities, including voter education and sensitisation. Understandably, the voters have also been more circumspect in asking for transfer to polling units.
“At the same time, the Commission did not use its powers under Section 42 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) to allot voters to the new polling units in order to minimise the disruptions that may occur from such a decision in view of the forthcoming Governorship election.
“Consequently, out of the 5,720 polling units in Anambra State, 86 (1.5%) have no voters. For that reason, the Commission will not be deploying personnel and materials to these polling units. Furthermore, 894 (15.6%) of the polling units have between 1 and 49 voters. Election will hold in these polling units. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that all Polling Units have voters allotted to them ahead of the 2023 General Election”.
He said the Commission has moved all non-sensitive materials for the election to the 21 Local Government Areas of the State.
“As usual, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is handling the delivery of sensitive materials to the State on schedule. Our State office in Awka is arranging for stakeholders to inspect the materials at the premises of the CBN in Awka. As is the case in all elections, the sensitive materials are moved under security escort to each Local Government Area from where they are distributed to the Registration Areas or Wards and finally to Polling Units on Election Day”, Yakubu stated.