Thursday, June 28, 2018 11:34 pm
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said in Lagos on Thursday that it was planning to involve Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), in the distribution of the voter register.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman of INEC, said this during a working visit to the secretariat of the Women Arise for Change Initiative (WA) and Centre for Change at Omole, Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that INEC visit to WA Secretariat was in continuation of the commission’s advocacy to organizations to foster partnership towards credible elections.
“”The commission is considering including the Civil Society Organizations in the distribution of the voter register, not just political parties.
“”The Voter register is a robust register, the largest data base of citizens in Nigeria. We are 70 million now going to 80.
““Since April 2017, we have had 9.7 million people registered, but we will continue to rely on credible organisations such as yours to help us tidy up the register because a credible election begins with a credible voter register.
“”We will continue to partner and collaborate with you. It’s our election and we must ensure that the 2019 general elections will be our best elections ever. We need to consolidate on the gains of 2015.
“”We are aware of the enormous responsibility on our shoulders and we believe that a credible election in 2019 will further consolidate our gains and is also going to be an affirmation of maturity of our democratic and electoral processes,’’ he said.
Yakubu expressed displeasure that the commission was yet to receive claims, complaints and objections from citizens even as it had pasted the voter register for citizens to view.
He said: “”We have made copies of the voter register available to political parties, we have displayed for complaints and objections as we speak, the commission has not received a single complain from any organization in Nigeria on the prevalence of ineligible persons.
“”But we have had complaints made on the social media in that respect. Whatever the commission will do to clean up the voter register, we will do so.”
The INEC boss urged Women Arise to mobilise women to register and collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), come out to vote on election day and also participate actively in the activities of political parties.
According to him, greater and active participation of women in political parties will stop under representation and marginalization of women in both legislative and executive arms of government.
Yakubu recalled the low turnouts of voters in the 2016 and 2017 bye elections it conducted in Ifako-Ijaye Federal Constituency and Eti-Osa State Constituency.
The INEC boss said the commission was determined to ensure credible elections are held in the country.
He said: “”We are preparing for Ekiti in a big way just the same way we have been preparing for other elections.
“”Compared to Ondo, Anambra or Osun, it should be easier for us to deploy and manage elections in Ekiti because there are no difficult terrains and no riverine areas and results will be declared speedily.
“”We are happy with the preparations for the elections and we are confident the elections will hold and will come out well the same way previous elections have gone.”
He commended WA on its track records in areas of mobilization of women for elections pledging to continue to partner with the organsiation as elections approaches.
Earlier, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President of WA, pledged to work hand in hand with INEC and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to ensure Nigerians rededicate themselves to service of mankind.
She said time had come for citizens to stop balloting with their bloods urging youngsters not to allow politicians use them as thugs while they over protect their own children.
She said: “”This work visit is very important to us becauses as we speak, we see a lot of voter apathy even before the commencement of the registration of voter cards.
“”We know that INEC and NOA have done some sensitization but one thing we have always advocated is that there should be that synergy.
“”As the president declared June 12 as new democracy day, the befitting memorial that we can give MKO Abiola and several Nigerians that lost their lives and the tireless efforts that INEC has showcased, is for everyone to imbibe the spirit of June 12 which is free, fair and credible elections.
“”Citizens should not continue to agonise but organize. And in organizing, citizens must go out en masse to collect their voter cards’’Okei-Odumakin said.