Thursday, April 20, 2017

VOTER REGISTRATION COMMENCES NATIONWIDE

VOTER REGISTRATION COMMENCES NATIONWIDE


This is good news to those who have a lot of questions in respect to voter registration that The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will commence registration nationwide. It’s been a while that this exercise was conducted and in preparation to 2019 general elections. This is done to enable those that have attained the age of eighteen to register; it will also enable those that have not had the opportunity to collect their PVCs (Permanent Voter’s Card).


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will commence a nationwide continuous voter registration on April 27 - The registration exercise would take place across the 774 local government areas of the federation - The commission in a statement said the exercise would take place from 9 a.m to 3 p.m on weekdays
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will commence a nationwide continuous voter registration on April 27 across the 774 local government areas of the federation. The commission disclosed this in a statement signed by Mrs. Amina Zakari, INEC National Commissioner, after a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECS) and Administrative Secretaries from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.  It stated that the exercise would take place from 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays (Mondays to Fridays), excluding public holidays.
The registration centres, according to the statement, shall be the local government offices of the commission or such other suitable locations as would be made public by the State Offices of lNEC. It stated that the decision was taken at the meeting following INEC consultations with stakeholders including political parties, civil society organizations and the media.
”The exercise is intended to enable citizens who have turned 18 years of age since the last registration as well as those who did not register during the last exercise to register as voters. It will allow those seeking transfer of their registration from one State to another or within a State from polling unit to another to do so. The exercise also intends to enable the distribution of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to those who could not collect them before or since the last general elections. It will also enable citizens who have the Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) but whose names are on the register to collect their PVCs,’’ it said.
However, the commission advised those who were already registered not to do so again as it is an offence to register more than once. He said, “The commission wishes to reiterate its commitment to consolidating our democracy. This we are going to do by ensuring that citizens are given the opportunity to register as voters on a continuous basis as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) well before elections.’’
It therefore appealed to all citizens to cooperate with the commission to ensure the success of the exercise. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier said the registration exercise would continue to be a routine exercise once it commenced.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would kick-start preparations for the 2019 general election with the continuous voters’ registration and distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) in April.
Also the commission gave an update on the growing number of political associations seeking registration as political parties ahead of the 2019 general election, saying it has now reached 85.
In a communiqué issued after the quarterly meeting with leaders of political parties held at INEC headquarters in Abuja, yesterday the parties endorsed the 2019 general election timetable and agreed to cooperate with the commission in all the processes leading to  the smooth conduct of the election.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the Deputy Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Dr. Bredforth Onwubuya, for other political parties and a National Commissioner, May Agbamuche-Mbu, on behalf of INEC.
Earlier, while speaking during the opening ceremony of the quarterly meeting, the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said, as at last Monday, the number of applications from new associations for registration as political parties had reached 86.

INEC had last Thursday put the figure of the associations seeking registration at 84 Yakubu also said the political parties which were previously de-registered by the commission after the 2015 general election, had regained their registration.
The political parties according to him are Better Nigeria Peoples Party (BNPP), Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Democratic Alternative (DA), national Action Council (NAC) and National Democratic Liberty Party (NDLP).
Others are Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN), National Conscience Party (NCP), Nigeria Element Progressives Party (NEPP) and the National Unity Party (NUP). The INEC boss, who described political parties as an important vehicle for the sustenance of the country’s democracy, urged the party leaders to always have confidence on the electoral system as a way of promoting stability in the polity.
In his words he said, “The names of these political parties have already been uploaded on our website. But I will like to appeal to those of them, out of the 10 that are yet to open their offices to do so and immediately notify the commission.”
While responding the IPAC Chairman, Mohammed Nalado, expressed displeasure over the inability of INEC to consult properly with political parties before fixing dates for the 2019 general election. Nalado said though INEC Chairman informed them of the decision but they did not know whether the information he gave them as official or not until they read the report on the pages of newspapers.
He said, “We had meeting with INEC Chairman, unfortunately, we did not understand him whether he was just giving us information on how our elections should be done. I hope this issue will be discussed thoroughly here.”
He averred IPAC’s commitment to work with INEC in deepening the country’s democracy, he however counseled INEC to seek alternative to deregistration of political parties. Urged also that the commission’s newly appointed National Commissioners make relevant inputs to the development of the electoral system in the country.
The National Chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Mr. Godson Okoye, responding to journalists said it was disrespect for INEC to fix date for elections without duly consulting political parties. 
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