INEC appeals to Nigerians to register to vote in elections

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday encouraged Nigerians to participate in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration exercise across the country in order to vote during elections.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at the stakeholders meeting in Abuja, highlighted the figures of different participants in the CVRs across the country, disclosing the Commission’s preparations for various by-elections in some states before the 2023 general elections. He emphasised the need for citizens to register for voting as the commission is cleaning and updating the voters register. He, however, discouraged double registration.

Prof.. Yakubu at the meeting declared: “I want to request that you continue to encourage eligible voters who have not registered to do so, bearing in mind that those who had registered at any time previously need not register again.

“Also, encourage voters who wish to transfer from their present Polling Units to new ones created as part of the Commission’s expansion of voter access polling units to do so immediately.”

The INEC Chairman stated that the Commission last week released the Timetable for six bye-elections in four States of the Federation. “These elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday 26th February 2022. The detailed Timetable is already uploaded to our website and social media platforms. Hard copies are also included in your folders for this meeting.

“Meanwhile, the Commission has also decided that the suspended Ekiti East I State Constituency bye-election will be combined with the State Governorship election holding on 18th June 2022.

“The date for the Shinkafi State Constituency bye-election in Zamfara State will be announced after a thorough review of the security situation in the area, while the Commission awaits the declaration of vacancy by the Kaduna State House of Assembly in respect of Giwa West State Constituency.”

The INEC chairman further revealed guidelines for the end-of-tenure and off-cycle elections. The chairman indicated that “party primaries for the Ekiti State Governorship election are scheduled for 4th – 29th January 2022. For the Osun State Governorship election, primaries will hold from 16th February to 12th March 2022.” He said that in Ekiti State, all the 18 political parties have served the mandatory notices for the primaries.

Yakubu, therefore drew the attention of parties to the necessity for transparent and rancour-free primaries. “Parties should also respect their chosen dates for the primaries based on the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities. “Already, many parties have rescheduled their primaries several times. While the Commission has earmarked a period of three weeks and 4 days (i.e., 25 days) for the conduct of the Ekiti State Governorship primaries, virtually all political parties have decided to hold their primaries in the last four days, i.e. 26th – 29th January 2022.

“In fact, seven political parties have chosen the last day for their primaries. “Similarly, no party has so far submitted its list of aspirants, the composition of its electoral panel, or the register of members or list of delegates depending on the chosen mode for electing its candidates. ‘

“As at yesterday, only one party has indicated the venue for its primaries. I urge you all to do so immediately to enable us to work out the detailed plans for monitoring the primaries.

“All primaries for electing candidates must take place in the constituency where election will hold as required by law.

“In the cases of Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections, any primaries conducted outside the two States will not be monitored by the Commission and their outcomes will not be accepted.

“This also applies to primaries for bye-elections conducted outside the constituencies,” INEC the Chairman highlighted.

Prof. Yakubu noted that it is now 25 days to the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory. According to him, “major activities have already been carried out, including the conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties.

“Only last week, the Commission presented the register of voters to political parties while the PVCs for new registrants, requests for transfers and replacement of cards have been printed and delivered several weeks ago to our FCT office for collection by voters.

“In the next few weeks, the Commission will intensify stakeholder engagements, the monitoring of campaigns by political parties and preparations for Election Day activities.

“On this note, I want to draw your attention 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. This is because voters failed to take advantage of the expansion of access to transfer to these new Polling Units. The detailed distribution of voters to Polling Units in the FCT is among the documents in your folders for this meeting.”