The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday 16th April 2021 commenced the training of all Heads of Electoral Operations in the 36 States and the FCT on the guidelines for the expansion of voter access to polling units in Nigeria.
The training held at the Barcelona Hotel, Wuse 2 area of Abuja, with National Commissioners AVM (rtd) Ahmad Mu’azu, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, Barrister Festus Okoye and Malam Mohammed Haruna in attendance at the opening of the event. The Honourable Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu was represented at the opening ceremony by Honourable National Commissioner Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu.
Addressing participants at the workshop, Prof. Ibeanu who is the Chairman of the Electoral Operations and Logistics Committee said the Commission is desirous of ensuring that clear procedures are followed in implementing the guidelines for expanding the polling units across the Country.
In his words, “To kick start this, the Commission is extremely desirous to ensure that clear procedures are followed and the objectives of measurable guidelines are equally followed, as well as the technical details required to ensure the exercise comes to proper fruition”.
Prof. Ibeanu also noted that all Heads of Electoral Operations Departments will play a key role in the exercise of the Expansion, hence, they require ample understanding of the guidelines on how to implement the theoretical document on ground in their respective States. He said the Commission firmly believes that it will only succeed with the exercise if HODs who will serve as anchors are adequately trained on the procedures and methodology for the implementation.
“Let me say that if you are going to get this right and get the guidelines properly followed, training is of the essence and the Heads of Electoral Operations in all the 36 States of the Federation and FCT are going to be like anchors of the process, therefore, if they do not fully understand the guidelines and details of implementing this, then we are not likely to achieve this objective and that is what explained this training. It is a workshop for all Heads of Electoral Operations in all States to essentially x-ray the challenges of voter access to polling units and the guidelines for the implementation, then working out the detailed methodology for ensuring that we get it right this time around” he said.
According to the Chairman of the Electoral Operations and Logistics Commission, the Commission has been concerned about the dwindling availability and access to Polling Units in Nigeria. Unfortunately previous attempts to expand access to Polling Units for voters were unsuccessful and the Commission is optimistic that it will succeed this time.
The Director of Electoral Operations and Logistics, Alhaji A.T. Yusuf, welcomed participants to the workshop and charged them to pay maximum attention at the training so as to be able to grasp and implement the procedures and guidelines of the exercise.