The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) have harped on hitch-free 2019 general elections, even as the electoral body has revealed that there are now 84 million registered voters in Nigeria. The newly reelected national financial secretary of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and the national chairman of Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) Rev. Olusegun Peters has assured Nigerians that the new leadership of the umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria would be transparent, honest and work for the good of all Nigerians in the 2019 general elections adding that the new IPAC would continue to partner with the INEC for hitch free elections in the country.
The national chairman of DPC in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Friday assured Nigerians and political parties that the new leadership at IPAC and its council members will also work together with the INEC to ensure transparent elections next year.
Reverend Olusegun Peters also promised that the new IPAC, which he said now has competent hands running its affairs, would not disappoint its stakeholders and Nigerians in general ahead of the 2019 general elections, even as he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment. He also called on the Executive and the Legislature to resolve their differences in the interest of the country and provide INEC with funds it needed to prosecute the forthcoming elections. He admonished political parties to eschew violence even as he urged Nigerians to get their permanent voter’s card (PVC) so that they can elect the candidates of their choice in 2019. LEADERSHIP Friday recalls that last Wednesday, the IPAC elected new executive to run its affairs for the next one year in Abuja. This followed the expiration of the tenure of the erstwhile executive led by Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Nalado, who is also the national chairman of Accord Party.
In the keenly contested election the national chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Peter Ameh was elected new chairman of IPAC after polling 54 votes to defeat the national chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP) Chief Chekwas Okorie who got 28 votes and Michael Ndu Bye who got 1 vote.
Meanwhile the total number of registered voters in Nigeria that are illegible to participate in the 2019 general elections is now 84.2 million, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said.
The new number followed the temporal closure of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise that ended on August 31. Speaking at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of the 36 states and Abuja, including National Commissioners, INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu said the CVR lasted for a period of 16 months, adding that from 27th April 2017 to 31st August 2018, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as envisaged by the Electoral Act which raised the total number of voters in Nigeria to 84,271,832.
“At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832,” Mahmood said adding that the figure may drop slightly after they finish Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
According to Yakubu, the current figure represents about 21 per cent increase on the existing register but urged Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing nationwide display of the particulars of new voters for claims and objections as required by law. “By doing so, citizens will be helping the commission to further clean up the register and purge it of all ineligible registrants as required by section 12 of the Electoral Act,” he said. Yakubu said in addition to fresh registration, the commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law. He added that INEC has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“Already, the commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to states for collection. I can also confirm that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the states next week. We wish to reassure Nigerians that every registered voter will have his/her PVC available for collection before the general election,” Yakubu said adding that the collection of PVCs will continue until one week to the 2019 general elections.
“We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens. We will also ensure that information about the collection of PVCs is widely disseminated. Already, we are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs. Today’s meeting will also consider other options, including the devolution of collection to Ward level. We however wish to restate the Commission’s policy that no PVCs will be collected by proxy. Registered voters must endeavour to collect their cards personally. We are working hard to ensure that no PVC goes into the wrong hands,” the INEC chairman added.