INEC to Suspend Continuous Voters Registration August 17

INEC to Suspend Continuous Voters Registration August 17

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that it will suspend the nationwide Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise, which commenced on April 27, 2017 on August 17. According to a statement signed by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, the decision was reached after consultations with major

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that it will suspend the nationwide Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise, which commenced on April 27, 2017 on August 17.

According to a statement signed by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi, the decision was reached after consultations with major stakeholders comprising Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations, Security Agencies and the Media.

The stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the Commission’s preparedness for the next general elections and the progressive improvements it has made to the electoral process. They enjoined the Commission to do more to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

On the CVR, the stakeholders noted the need to comply with statutory timelines and unanimously agreed that sufficient time be given between the capture of data, its processing and the production of PVCs.

Given the backend activities necessary for this and acting on the recommendation of the stakeholders after taking into consideration, the statutory obligations to end the revision, update, certification and publication of the Register of Voters for the general elections, the Commission decided to suspend the ongoing CVR at 3pm on Friday, August 17, 2018.

The statement added that the collection of PVCs would however continue until a week preceding the commencement of the general elections on February16, 2019.

In a related development, INEC have said that a total of 206,098 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have not been collected by their owners in Enugu State. The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr Emeka Ononamadu stated this at a stakeholders’ meeting with traditional rulers at the Commission’s headquarters in Enugu.

Ononamadu decried the high level of apathy shown towards collection of PVCs, when the general elections had been scheduled to begin 228 days from last Monday. Giving the breakdown, the REC said that out of the 206,098 uncollected PVCs, 98,208 PVCs were old PVCs while 107,890 PVCs were new ones

He estimated that a total of 1,865,759 voters have been registered in Enugu state so far when the 1,429,221 registered voters in 2015 are added to those registered under the continuous voters registrations (CVR) of 422,997 and transfer of 4,541.

He said to address some challenges witnessed during the first and second quarter of CVR registrations in 2017, the commission in Enugu had received 22 brand new hi-speed Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines and upgraded and refurbished over 100 DDCs to deal with the crowd and replacement of malfunctioned DDCs.

Igwe Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzo, the chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council in the state, thanked the commission for its effort in ensuring that credible election is conducted in 2019. He said that the traditional rulers have confidence in the ability of the commission to conduct credible elections in 2019.

Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that Nigerian cannot have a proper election without youths’ participation. He made this assertion at the University of Lagos, Akoka, during a campus outreach to sensitise students on the need to participate in the upcoming elections.

Speaking to the hundreds of students who gathered at the J. F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium, he urged them to register and collect their PVCs as that was their power to effect change. Recalling that in their days students fought their ‘Aluta’ battles on the streets, the INEC chairman noted that the means to effect change had moved from the streets to the polling booths.

The INEC Chairman urged the students to take full advantage of the registration centre which has been opened on the campus to register, adding that they should not use the PVC for banking purposes alone.

Yakubu allayed the fears of the students about the insecurity that have for long been part of electoral processes in the country, insisting that the environment for conducting elections in the country was getting progressively better.

“We are not there yet but we are getting there. As our democracy matures, things will be better,” he said.

He blamed the low turnout of voters for the violence that goes on at polling centres. According to him, people are emboldened to be violent at polling centres because they meet very few people there.

Arguing that “nobody will go to a polling centre where he knows that there will be large number of people who will challenge them”, Yakubu posited that continuous engagement by the youths and security agents will help curtail the incidences of electoral violence.

He also urged the youths to work with the commission beyond serving as election duty staff saying that they should be active participants and agents of change by casting their votes.

Assuring the students that the era when votes did not count were gone, the INEC chairman disclosed that in spite of stories making the rounds on social media about underage voters in some parts of the country, the commission had never received any actionable complaints.

He therefore urged those who had proof of such acts to reach out to the commission, assuring that such would be treated and followed to a logical conclusion.

Welcoming participants to the event, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatosin Temitayo Ogundipe, noted that youths constitute an important segment of the Nigerian population, describing them as “energetic, innovative, adventurous, zealous and veritable change agent.”

He however pointed out the need to properly harness the energies of the youths.

“These qualities must be properly harnessed and channelled in the right direction if they must yield positive dividends. One of the worthy causes to which young people’s interest and ideals must be directed to in Nigeria is the attainment of good governance and to attain good governance, young people must be involved in the electoral and political processes,” he said.

The VC said youths could not be effective change agents if they remained aloof and apathetic to electoral and political processes, urging them to utilise their numeric strength positively.

Mr. Oluwatosin Otekaye, a 500 Level Systems Engineering student, implored the students in particular and youths in general to register and participate in the 2019 elections, assuring them that their votes would count.

According to him, their PVCs and votes were the only means through which they could effect change.

“Social media does not bring change. We have to come out and vote. Change does not come by you sitting down in your room and analysing issues,” he said.

In his goodwill message, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria and Africa, Ambassador Ketil Karlsen said that for Nigeria to have a truly consolidated democracy, it must be reflected in the participation of the youths in the democratic processes.

He pointed out that the youths were not only the future of the country but it’s present.

He expressed his desire and resolve to build the strongest partnerships ever between the EU and Nigerian youths.

The ambassador disclosed that the EU had spent over 100 million Euros in support of electoral processes in the country since 1999.

Panelists at the outreach programme, Helen Paul, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde,  Ayo ‘AY’ Makun, Basket Mouth and Babatunde Durowoju,  a 400 level Sociology student of the University of Lagos, with one voice, urged the students to register and vote.

They emphasized that the votes would count in 2019.

The outreach was organised by INEC in partnership with EU, European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) and YIAGA Africa. Among those present at the event was a former President, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and Director, International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade.

 

 

 

 

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