INEC must ensure availability of Voters Cards- DWG

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…Says the last exercise was too shoddy!

The Democracy Watch Group (DWG) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC to establish without further delay, a Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) desk in it’s wards and local government offices to ensure Nigerians can get registered before the stipulated time of 30 days as allowed under the Electoral expires.

The group, in a letter signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Barrister Wale Ogunade and Nelson Ekujumi, also tasked the INEC to immediately create a Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) collection desk in the wards of all the local governments, backed by adequate publicity, so that the general public can access it.

The DWG, a civil society organization with primary focus on entrenching democratic ethos in the Nigerian polity offered the advice, based on Observation Report of Distribution of PVC and CVR by INEC in Nine (9) Local Governments of Lagos State, from 28th – 30th November and 3rd – 8th December 2014.

“We took it upon ourselves to monitor the distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) by INEC in its second phase in nine (9) local governments areas of Lagos state namely Alimosho, Apapa, Amuwo Odofin, Epe, Badagry, Eti Osa, Oshodi Isolo, Surulere, Somolu”, the body highlighted, noting that the haphazard manner showed that except INEC takes corrective measures, many Nigerians would be disenfranchised.

“From our monitoring exercise and reports gathered on the field, we observed that just like in the first phase of eleven (11) local governments distribution exercise of 7th – 10th November, 2014, INEC did not show up on time on the first day of the exercise on 28th November, 2014 in most of the local governments visited. Infact, in Alimosho local government, they arrived at most polling units late.

“On day two, 29th November, 2014 of the exercise, the INEC personnel showed up but were unable to cope with the crowd due to shortage of personnel. The distribution of PVC took place but could not make amends for the near or total absence of the first day

“On day three, 30th November, 2014, INEC showed up in the polling units in the local governments and all the problems observed on the earlier days such as missing names and PVC still persisted as people trooped out to collect their PVC.

“INEC conducted the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in the 9 aforementioned local governments of Lagos State from 3rd to 8th December, 2014.

“On day one of the CVR exercise, 3rd December, 2014, INEC arrived late in most polling units visited in the local governments and Alimosho local government was the worst affected as the INEC personnel were nowhere to be found till 3pm. However, from reports gathered, they came at about 3.30pm and so couldn’t work as a result of the restless crowd who had besieged the polling units since day break.

“On day 2, December 4th, INEC personnel arrived at polling units at about 9-10am and were faced with the rowdiness of the registrants who struggled to ensure that the register of people compiled the previous day was used to make people form a queue, but it took the intervention of elderly people for sanity to be restored and registration commenced. But unfortunately in some of the polling units, the data capturing machines were malfunctioning and breaking down due to lack of public electricity supply. This problem caused delays in some polling units until public spirited Nigerians provided alternative power supply with private generators.

“On day 3, 4, 5 and 6, December 8 which was the last day of the CVR in the above mentioned 9 local governments, the registration of voters continued in most of the designated polling units but at the end of the day, not all voters were able to register.

“In all the polling units visited in the 9 LG’s, there were no public power supply to power the data capturing machines which were going off when the battery level is low and had to be powered by alternative energy provided from privately owned generators.

“We equally observed that a lot of PVC’s remained uncollected due to inability of INEC personnel to show up in some polling units whose status have become unknown to the general public.

“We as well noticed that a lot of voters have not yet been captured in the voters registration exercise due to unavailability of enough personnel and functional equipment to carry out the assignment, as well as inadequacy of registration time lag.

“We have also taken note that the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise which is supposed to continue at designated points in the wards or INEC offices in the local governments is yet to commence till date” the Group noted further, stressing that if the possession of PVC remains a pre-requisite for voters to cast their votes come February 2015 when the general elections will hold, what would be the fate of Nigerians who are going to be disenfranchised due to no fault of theirs; more so, when the capacity to vote without inhibition is equally, critical to a free, fair and credible democratic process. 


Yours Sincerely,



Barrister Wale Ogunade                                                                        Nelson Ekujumi

Chairman.                                                                                                Gen. Secretary



CC:

The National Chairman,

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),

INEC Headquarters, Abuja.

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