By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged media organizations to sensitize and encourage voters who wish to transfer from their present Polling Units to new ones created as part of the Commission’s expansion of access to Polling Units across the country.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu who made the call on Friday during the first Quarterly Consultative meeting with the media in Abuja, said the support of the media was crucial to the success of the recent expansion of voter access to Polling Units for the first time in 25 years since the initial delimitation in 1996.
Yakubu, who drew the attention of the media to the distribution of voters to Polling Units in the FCT, particularly the fact that 593 out of 2,822 (or 21%) of the total, do not have voters, said this is because voters failed to take advantage of the expansion of access to transfer to these new Polling Units.
While emphasizing that nobody will use the Polling Units without voters as ‘miracle centres’, he said no ballot paper, result sheet, election materials, ad hoc staff or security personnel would be deployed, assuring that before 2023 general elections, INEC will ensure that these Polling Units are populated.
Furthermore, he appreciated the role of media organisations in encouraging and mobilizing eligible Nigerians who have not registered for their Permanent Voters Card to do so, adding that at the same time, the Commission wants the media to continue to sensitise Nigerians that those who had registered at any time previously need not register again.
“For those who have completed the registration, the Commission is right now undertaking the most comprehensive cleaning up of the data from the ongoing Continuous Voter Register (CVR) to ensure that only eligible citizens are added to the voters’ register for the 2023 General Election.
“We will share our findings with Nigerians very soon. The actual dates for the collection of the PVCs nationwide will also be announced very soon”, he said.
For his part, President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Chris Isiguzo while commending INEC for the successful conduct of the just concluded Anambra governorship election, said; “with the performance of INEC in Anambra governorship election conducted in November 2021, I can authoritatively say that INEC has brought integrity into the conduct of election in Nigeria”.
Isiguzo who was represented by the Treasurer of the Union, Atunbi Bamidele, appealed to INEC to improve on its performance in subsequent elections, especially in the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, and in the 2023 general elections.
The NUJ Chairman further stressed that support for INEC is ultimately support for Nigerian democracy, stressing that, “as members of the fourth estate of the realm, let me assure you of one fact, we will continue to support INEC. Our support for INEC is not only for the Commission but also support for democracy and the development of our nation. We believe in Nigeria, and we will continue to believe in this country”.