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Ohanaeze alleges shoddy voter registration in Southeast


Voter registration. PHOTO:

‘27.3 million persons with disabilities may not vote in 2019’
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo has decried the shoddy handling of voters’ registration exercise in the Southeast and asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to explain why it was being handled that way.

President general of the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, John Nnia Nwodo, yesterday said many eligible voters in the region would be disenfranchised if the situation was not corrected urgently.

He disclosed that INEC officials were not responding adequately to voters, who besiege their offices for registration and collection of their permanent voter cards (PVCs) as they only attend to them two days in a month.

He said that there is nothing on ground to show really that the commission understands the importance of this exercise; they are treating it as a secondary matter, when it should be the primary to all their functions.

“If the basic statutory function of INEC is to conduct election, issuance of voters card to eligible voters should be paramount.

“Clearly there is apparent poor voter education, as nothing is on ground to show some commitment on INEC’s part in the region,” he stated.

Nwodo, therefore, charged INEC to do the needful to ensure that all eligible voters in the region were given their voter cards.

Responding to Ohanaeze’s claim, Chief Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, told The Guardian that the commission was aware of the challenges being experienced in the zone in the ongoing registration.

He apologised for the development, saying INEC was working with all relevant stakeholders to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) yesterday expressed concerns that no fewer than 27.3 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) may be denied the right to vote in next year’s general elections.

Its Executive Director, Ms Grace Jerry, who spoke during a media training session on disability reporting in Abuja, called INEC and other stakeholders like the media to ensure the full participation of the PWDs at the poll.

She said unless concrete steps were taken, there could be a repeat of the plight of the PWDs in the last Edo and Ondo governorship polls in which they failed to access polling units and ballot boxes.

She pointed out that this informed the group’s decision to launch a report entitled: Disability Votes Matter, which she said was aimed at addressing the challenges.

Jerry stated that officials of the group met with the national chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu and got his assurances to introduce accessible polling unit layout, tactile ballots, accessible polling cubicle and gender disaggregated data for PWDs to enhance planning, among others.

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