EC to create 178 new electoral areas in Northern Region

BY: Samuel Duodu
Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa
Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa

The Electoral Commission (EC) has proposed the creation of 178 new electoral areas in the Northern Region in addition to the existing 705 electoral areas.

The new electoral areas will constitute more than 25 per cent of the existing electoral areas.

The Northern Regional Director of the EC, Mr Benjamin Bano-Bioh, disclosed this at a stakeholders engagement in Tamale on the proposed electoral areas to be created in the region.

The meeting last Thursday, August 30, 2018, brought together representatives of the various political parties, chiefs, assembly members, the various associations of persons with disability (PWDs), the media, among other interested groups.

Need for new electoral areas

Mr Bano-Bioh stated that the decision to create the new electoral areas in the region was to bring governance to the doorstep of the people and to also enhance local government administration.

He stated further that the factors considered for the creation of the electoral areas included the size of the population of the area, land size, geographical location (distance), interest of the community, conflict, among others.

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He added that the stakeholders engagement was to get the inputs and suggestions of all parties to ensure the success of the exercise, explaining that electoral areas could not be created in areas where there were no polling stations.

“The creation of the electoral area is to make the administration of local governance easy. It is not a matter of population size only but distance and also to enable the local people get their own representation at the local governance level”, he stated and added that “the criteria is so complex and varied”.

Mr Bano-Bioh, therefore, called on the people, especially the various political parties, to put away their own interests and rather look at the larger picture in the creation of the new electoral areas, which was basically aimed at making the administration of local governance easy and simple.

Upcoming exercises

The Northern Regional Director of the EC used the occasion to throw light on the upcoming activities of the EC which included the limited voter registration exercise, which is meant for those who have attained age 18 to get their names on the register, the voter register exhibition that would be held in the areas where the proposed two new regions are to be created, which will be carved out of the Northern Region, and a referendum to be held in these areas.

On the limited registration exercise, Mr Bano-Bioh cautioned political parties and residents against presenting people who were not qualified to register (such as minors) and also bussing people who already had their names in the register to register again, adding that those engaged in double or multiple registration would have their names deleted and be marked as “someone who has engaged in double or multiple registration.”

“Political parties should know that they are not helping people when they make them register twice. Such an act amounts to disenfranchising them and anybody who engages in double registration cannot also vote”, he stressed.

Mr Bano-Bioh called on chiefs, opinion leaders and the various political parties to ensure that the limited registration exercise was successful.

The Deputy Northern Regional Director of the EC, Mr Emmanuel Abeam-Danso, for his part, called on political parties and assembly members to educate the people on the need to ensure that those qualified would have their names in the voters register.