Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti-Ekiti
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ekiti state, Prof. Abduganiyu Raji, has raised an alarm that a total of 256,648 registered voters were yet to claim their Permanent Voter Cards(PVCs) out of a total registered voters of 921, 027 in the state.
The commission also revealed that no fewer than 664, 379 PVCs have been distributed and are eligible to vote in the February 16 and March 2, presidential and National Assembly elections as well as governorship and State Assembly polls respectively.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner made the disclosure on Thursday while addressing some stakeholders at the INEC headquarters in Ado-Ekiti during a stakeholders meeting held with politicians in the state.
The Commission also disclosed that all the adhoc staff that would be used to conduct the 2019 elections will be examined to ascertain whether they have criminal records with the police and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA).
INEC said the commission will be painstaking in digging deep into the records of the ad hoc staff, who will be members of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and those working with federal higher institutions and Ministries , Department and Agencies (MDAs) under the FG to ascertain the records of those that will conduct such sensitive elections.
The stakeholders meeting which was also attended by members of political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Joint National Association of People Living With Disabilities (JONADIP) and religious bodies.
He warned the staff of the commission against compromise, saying anyone caught sabotaging INEC will not only be dismissed but would be jailed in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act and 1999 constitution.
Raji added that only those working with federal higher institutions and MDAs and are above grade level 10 would be eligible to apply as ad hoc staff.
He also allayed the fears in town that the PVCs were being cloned by politicians, saying : “Those doing that will end up being disappointed. Our database can’t be hacked by anybody, because our ICT network was customized in a way that would be hack-free.
The INEC boss promised that the commission won’t disappoint and disgrace Nigerians in the conduct of the elections.
Raji assured the JONADIP members that enough provisions have been made for them to be able to vote without hindrance and recruit their members who satisfy the criteria spelt out to be fit as ad hoc staff in the conduct of the coming elections.
The IPAC Chairman in the State, Mr. Ilesanmi Omolayo, appealed to political parties to start mobilizing the people on the need to collect their PVCs in readiness for the elections.