By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has assured all Nigerians especially those that are participating in the Continuous Voters Registration exercise that they will get their Permanent Voters Cards before the 2019 general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave this assurance in Abuja at the regular consultative meeting with the media.
Yakubu however noted that presently the Commission is giving priority to electorates in Ekiti and Osun states which will be holding their governorship elections on July 14th and September 22, 2018 respectively, which will in turn mark the end of all the governorship elections before 2019.
On the preparation for the 2019 elections, he noted that there are no plans to change the timetable, stressing that the election will hold as scheduled.
“On 9th January, we issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections based on our powers and extant laws and nothing has changed. There is a principle behind the choice of these dates- as our democracy matures, we should be moving from uncertainty to certainty.
“As far as the Commission is concerned, there is no legal lacuna for now; we are working based on existing laws. But if something happens tomorrow, we will come out clear and tell Nigerians, but I think we are not operating based on conjectures,” he said.
He however expressed worry over the act of vote buying, adding that the commission is working to implement elements to ensure that, “it must be democracy for the people and not plutocracy for the rich”.
The INEC chairman said the commission was making efforts to ensure that the voting process was made easier for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs), pregnant and lactating women as well as the aged.
“The CVR data by type of disability is being captured to know what is being needed and the type of disabilities. On senior citizens, we will appeal to voters to accord senior citizens the kind of consideration they deserve and it is also applicable to lactating mothers, pregnant women and people with disabilities” he said.
Speaking on inclusivity in elections, he expressed delight over the passage of the Not-too-young-to-run bill and solicited for suggestions on how to increase participation of women and Persons Living With Disabilities(PLWDs) in the electoral process.
Prof. Yakubu urged the media to work together with the commission and to keep their eyes on the processes of the elections and as we report any discrepancies.
“It is only when we work together in partnership can we take our elections and our democracy to the next level” he noted.