The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria says it is looking to use the permanent voter’s card in the conduct of Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections ahead of the 2015 general election.
The elections will hold in June in Ekiti State and August in Osun State.
On Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, on Sunday, the Press Secretary to the chairman of the commission, Mr Kayode Idowu, said the commission was doing everything possible to guard against the kind of irregularities experienced in the Anambra governorship election held in 2013.
Mr Idowu explained that the commission would issue the permanent voter’s card few months before the elections to ensure that all eligible voters were captured ahead of the election.
“In Ekiti State, we will be issuing the permanent voters card but the card reader will not be used for now until 2015.
“We are also ensuring that whatever challenges we had in Anambra concerning logistics are being addressed to make sure that materials are in all polling units at the right time,” Mr Idowu explained.
Pointing out some of the irregularities experienced in Anambra State’s governorship election, one of the observers of the election, the Executive Director, Enough Is Enough Nigeria, Yemi Ademolekun, stressed the need for the electoral body to commence a sensitisation programme before the election, insisting that poor voters’ education contributed hugely to the poor conduct of the election in Anambra State.
She called on the commission to also ensure that voters were made to get the necessary information about the process of registering for a permanent voter’s card.
“INEC still has fundamental logistics issues in getting electoral material from point A to point B.
“They have to go and sensitise people in Ekiti and Osun to go and verify that their names are in the voters register so that they can vote.
“Voters should be well sensitised about the process of issuing the permanent voters’ card,” Ademolekun said.
Another observer present at the Anambra governorship election, the president, Voters’ Awareness Initiative, Mr Wale Ogunnade, insisted that the INEC boss, Attahiru Jega, should be on ground to monitor election, when it is conducted for just one state.
“By the time you set a good example and things are done right in a place, it will help ensure that the small boys will put up good attitude and do the right thing at other times,” he argued.
Mr Ogunnade, who is also a lawyer advocated a continuous voters’ registration process, which he said the INEC had been empowered to undertake, as provided by Section 9 and 10 of the Electoral Act.
“Continues voter’s registration should be put to work and ensure that everyone that turns 18 is registered in their local council as soon as they turn 18 and not when the election is already near,” he said, calling on all Nigerians to contribute their best to the success of the 2015 elections.
2015 Election In Mind
Ahead of the 2015 election, Mr Idowu pointed out that the commission had done a lot in addressing issues that arose in Anambra.
“Towards Ekiti and Osun and 2015 , we are doing everything possible to make sure that everybody who ought to be on the biometric register and who for one reason or the other is not there now, are giving the opportunity to be on the biometric register. That was the reason we were in Osun last week
“We are in a lot of sensitisation,” he said.
The spokesman for the INEC chairman also urged all stakeholders to collaborate with the commission by playing their role in order to ensure that the issue that arose in Anambra would not arise.
He stressed that the election time-table sequencing should not be an issue, as it was slightly different from the 211 election time-table.
“In 2011 we had the National Assembly election first and the Presidential election before the State Assembly.
“We have only merged the National and State Assemblies elections and then we have made the presidential election the second one.
“It is injustice on Nigerians to assume that people will be cajoled to vote for one person because of the way the time-table was sequenced,” he said.
Both Mr Ogunade and Ademolekun observed that the level of voters’ awareness in Nigeria had increased and would play a major role in their choices of candidates in the 2015 elections.