Politics

INEC resumes voters registration ahead Edo, Ondo Guber polls

INEC

…says bye-elections pending in 1 federal, 3 states constituencies

By Tunde Opalana

Ahead of the governorship elections slated for September and November this year, the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), said that it has decided to resume the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Edo and Ondo states to enable eligible citizens who are not registered voters to do so.

The Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this during the second regular quarterly consultative meeting with political parties. on Monday at INEC headquarters in Abuja.

He added that previously registered voters also have the opportunity to transfer their registration from other states of the federation to Edo and Ondo states or from one location to another within the two states.

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Yakubu said “as the elections in the two States approach, the Commission has decided to resume the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in the two States to enable eligible citizens who are not registered voters to do so. Similarly, those who are registered voters also have the opportunity to transfer their registration from other States of the federation to Edo and Ondo States or from one location to another within the two States.

“Let me reiterate that the CVR is only open to new registrants and those who seek to transfer their registration. Persons who are registered as voters should not attempt to register again as double or multiple registration is illegal.

“Lost or damaged voters’ cards will be replaced during the exercise but this does not require fresh registration. The CVR in Edo and Ondo States will take place simultaneously from Monday 27th May 2024 to Wednesday 5th June 2024 from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily including the weekend.

“Taking into consideration the limited time to the Governorship elections, the Commission has decided to conduct the registration at Ward level and our State headquarters instead of our Local Government offices and a few designated centers as was case in the past. This means that there will be 192 Ward registration centres in Edo State and 203 centres in Ondo State, in addition to our State offices in Benin City and Akure, making a total of 397 walk-in registration centres in the two States. “

The chairman further said there will be no online pre-registration option in the two states because of time constraint, stressing that each centre will be managed by two officials drawn from our regular staff and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

He added that in the next few days, the Commission will commence the training of at least 794 officials for the exercise while information on locations of the registration centres will be uploaded to INEC website and social media platforms for public information.

The Commission therefore appealed to political parties and other stakeholders to join in mobilising prospective registrants for the exercise, particularly on the need to register early and not wait until the deadline approaches when the registration centres are inundated by eleventh hour registrants.

In addition to the registration of voters, the chairman disclosed that the Commission will also make available the uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for collection during the CVR.

“In the coming days, the list of uncollected PVCs will be published in our offices in the two States and simultaneously uploaded to our website. Again, we encourage those who have not collected their PVCs in the two States to seize the opportunity to do so,” he said.

The chairman also informed the parties leaders of pending bye- election to fill vacant seats in one federal and three states constituencies.

He said “I would also like to inform party leaders about the existence of vacancies in National and State Assemblies caused by either death or resignation of Honourable Members in three States and one Federal constituencies across the country.

“As soon as preparations are concluded, the Commission will announce the dates for bye-elections in Khana 2 State Constituency of Rivers State, the Bagwai/Shanono State constituency of Kano State, the Zaria Kewaye State Constituency of Kaduna State and the Garki/Babura Federal Constituency of Jigawa State.”

On behalf of the leadership of the 18 registered political parties , the National Chairmen of Inter – Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Yusuf Dantalle, urged the Commission, leaders of political parties, civil society organizations, security agencies, judiciary, the press and citizens to be firm and decisive in protecting the nation’s democracy and forestall political upheavals as currently experience in some parts of the country.

He equally condemned in strong terms politics of bitterness, do-or-die politics and divisive politics that have tendencies of undermining our emerging democracy.

“It is unacceptable! Politicians must abide by democratic ideals, ethics and ethos, and desist from inflammatory utterances and actions that could impede our constitutional government. More importantly, political parties must adhere strictly by their constitutions in conducting congresses, primaries and conventions”.

The IPAC chairman who is also the national chairman of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) bemoaned high cost placed on nomination forms to contest elective offices by leadership of political.parties

He said “the high expression of interest and nomination fees charged by some political parties should be reviewed despite being internal affairs of the parties. IPAC will continue to engage party leaders on this among; others that will curb imposition of candidates and boost internal democracy as we strive to make Nigeria better”.

He added that political parties are concerned about low turn out of voters in Nigeria.

“We are deeply concerned by the low voters turnout in recent years particularly in the 2023 general election. It calls for concerted effort by all stakeholders in the electoral process. For democracy to succeed, it is very important that eligible citizens are active participants. It is obvious that your vote is your voice; for your voice to be heard you must register to vote. Effective voter register ensures that citizens’ right to vote is protected. It is imperative that INEC maintains updated Register of Voters in real time,” he said

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