By Alo AbThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that over 70 percent of women registered voters in Ekiti State have collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) ahead of the June 18 governorship election in the state.
The commission also disclosed that it has detected a total of 47,633 prospective voters who engaged in double registration on its portal.
Speaking during a one-day training workshop organised for Ekiti journalists in preparation for the poll, the resident electoral commissioner, Ekiti State, Dr. Adeniran Tella, said the body was determined to achieve a massive turnout at the poll.
Tella appealed to voters not to treat theirPVCs as instruments for mere identification, saying they are to be deployed to vote on election day.
“PVCs are not designed as identification cards, they are for voting. We want to do away with this voter apathy and we are starting with the Ekiti election. I salute our women for participating well in registration. 71% of them had also collected their PVCs.
“We are also assuring the People Living with Disabilities that their interests will be protected by the commission. They are Nigerians with inalienable rights to vote and we shall provide an enabling environment for them to vote in this election, we have made adequate provision for them”.
The INEC’s Head of Department, Information and Communication Technology, Titilayo Oderinde,
said the people were detected with the aid of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System(BVAS) invented by the electoral body to sanitise its registers.
Oderinde, who spoke on the BVAS application and its significance to the credibility of elections, said no individual can exercise double franchise during election with the help of the ICT innovation.
“During the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration exercise declared by INEC for intending voters to update their registration, a total of 124,963 persons registered in Ekiti.
“But it will marvel you that when the number was subjected to BVAS scrutiny, a total of 47,633 were discovered to have registered twice and got expunged from the register.
“Though, the commission was so lenient that one of the double registrations was struck out leaving one for the voter to exercise his franchise. It is not applicable to a gender, the offense was committed by both genders”.
Also speaking, the INEC’s national commissioner and chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, added that part of the constitutional frameworks designed for the success of any election, is freedom of press, warning that this shouldn’t be abused to prevent violence during election.
“Before journalists can monitor elections in any state, he must have good knowledge of the social, political, economic, and geographical composition of that environment.
“ He must also understand the security situation, because all these differ from state to state.
“They must also have a deep knowledge of the laws guiding the conduct of elections. They must know what laws permit regarding the information you dish out. Media personnel are not permitted to give out information that can mislead the populace and ignite violence on the day of election. They have to be accurate .
“In this election, we appeal to you to be neutral, non-partisan, ethical and professional in the discharge of your duties, so that we can record success together and conduct election that can be acceptable to all”, he said.