INEC chairman begins voter registration in Abuja
• Ekiti promises N2, 000 stipend to encourage participation
• 21,651 PVCs yet to be collected in Akwa Ibom State
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmud Yakubu yesterday began the voter registration exercise in Abuja.
Yakubu warned politicians not to hijack the process, adding that the commission has put measures in place to avoid any interference.
On under-age voting, Yakubu urged whistle blowers to be observant to checkmate the problems.
The INEC chairman disclosed that some foreigners were caught recently with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), describing it as a bad omen.
He said he was not certain if foreigners were registered in the previous voter registration done in the country.
He, however, said the commission was working with the security agencies to curtail the menace.
Yakubu explained that the registration would be a continuous exercise to enable eligible voters to be captured.
He disclosed that over 400 INEC officials of the commission and 600 ad hoc personnel had been mobilised for the exercise, which would begin from the local council areas.
Over 20 directors of the commission were present at the commencement of the registration at its office in Karu, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, (AMAC), Abdulahi Candido, also attended the event.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has promised to pay a monthly stipend to youths who would participate in the registration.
There was massive turnout of youths between the age of 18 and 24, as the registration started yesterday in the state.
However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has raised the alarm at the promised financial inducement, which it described as “democratic.”
A chieftain of the APC, Mr. Kolade Amire, made the complaint when the INEC’s Administrative Secretary in the state, Dr. Muslim Moleke, launched the exercise.
But the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, said Fayose’s gesture was to show concern in the people’s welfare to encourage them to participate and improve the electoral process.
“Fayose is a man of the people. He won’t induce anybody and never planned such,” he said.
Also, the Chairman of Ado Ekiti Local Council area, Ayodeji Ogunsakin, said the mobilisation should not be misinterpreted to mean an attempt to derail the electoral process.
The National Commissioner in charge of Oyo, Osun and Ekiti States, Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, who is also a member of the Information and Voter Education Committee, disclosed in Ibadan, that the PVCs have an expiration period.
He enlightened voters and politicians to handle the cards with care, noting that card reader would not accept any damaged card
In Akwa Ibom State, the state Administrative Secretary of the commission, Mr. Owhor Nathan disclosed at a media briefing that 21,651 PVC’s were yet to be collected by their owners.
He urged them to visit the local councils to collect their cards, while urging those who had attained the age of 18 to avail themselves of the opportunity to register.
In Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, the INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of North Central, Haruna Muhammed, promised that the commission would continue to improve on its performance.
He pleaded with the people to be committed to the registration, adding that in the last voter registration exercise, only about 80 per cent of the people collected their PVCs in Kogi.