CLAIM: CDD fact checkers spotted a trending tweet by Daniel Bwala, a lawyer and until recently served as a special adviser on legal matters to the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.
On August 1, 2022, Mr. Bwala claimed there are about 190,000 polling units in Nigeria. He also maintained that a minimum of three-party agents are required at the polling unit.
The tweet reads: “There are about 190k polling units in Nigeria. A party needs a minimum of 3 agents in each polling unit; 570k human beings in total. “That’s structure existing not on social media. Anyway, it will be clearer as we approach elections. Insult is not a substitute for structure”.
FACT CHECK PROCESS: CDD Fact check on the claim indicated that Daniel Bwala’s data were inaccurate. As at August 2, 2022, the tweet has garnered over 3,000 (626 retweets, 190 Quotes and 2,333 likes) engagements and still growing.
According to the Election Management Body, there are 176,846 polling units listed on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) website. INEC, on June 16th, 2021, removed polling units from ‘inappropriate’ places and worship centers across the country. The commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja.
At the meeting, he unveiled the locations of the newly created 56,872 Polling Units (PUs) and also announced other electoral arrangements. With the creation of the new PUs, Mr. Yakubu said, Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged polling units against its initial 119,974 PUs in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He pegged the total number of polling units removed from ‘inappropriate places’ at 749.
Mr Bwala also claimed a party needs a minimum of three party agents in each polling units. Fact check on INEC’s pocketbook for party agents, clearly state that a political party is limited to one agent in each of polling units, as against three agents claimed by Mr. Bwala.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that there are 176,846 polling units in Nigeria and not about 190,000. Additionally, there is a limit of one agent rather than three per polling unit as claimed by Mr. Bwala.
Mr. Bwala’s data on his tweet are wrong and therefore false.
As the country heads to 2023 general elections, there are several misleading contents online, CDD therefore urges citizens and voters to be careful of content they share, online and offline.