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Why under-age voting may persist, by KOSIEC chairman

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As long as there is no protection for registration officers, under aged voting may persist in the country.The Chairman of the Kogi State Independent Electoral Commission (KOSIEC), Andrew Owonipa, has disclosed.

According to him, the challenge of under aged registration in the country’s electoral process is an endemic case that would be difficult to overcome.Owonipa explained that some National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, who served as ad hoc staff in the north, were almost lynched for resisting under aged registration.

The KOSIEC boss made the clarification when the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) paid him courtesy visit in Lokoja.The CAN chairman, Bishop John Ibenu, had called for the sanctity of the electoral process.He said the issue of under aged voting during election would not speak well of the Nigerian democracy.

“In the last two weeks, we have been watching a video of under aged registration and voting. We want you to check mate these things so that they don’t happen again,” the bishop said.Ibenu also raised concern over the non-collection of about 8million Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the state.

Owonipa explained that under aged registration is a very serious challenge, because of the crowd that gather during registration, with very limited security for the protection of the registration officers.

“There is nothing much that a registration officer could do at that point, because he is not having enough protection. Somebody would tell you that this is my son and I know his age. You can’t argue with such person because you do not know the child’s age.

He said at times, it is not the size of the person that determines the age, as a 19-year person could look like a 10-year old child.He added that these challenges have placed the registration officer in a dilemma, contrary to what people expect of him.While stating that the practice is not limited to a particular area, the KOSIEC boss said the willingness of the people to defend the Constitution, may however vary.


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Andrew OwonipaKOSIEC
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