Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Some electorate, in Ekiti State, on Friday, thumbed down the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for allegedly delaying the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) and collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
The also accuse the electoral umpire of manipulating the process in favour of ;their friends; and also demanding for money to get people registered.
Checks by newsmen at some of the registration centres at the polling units across the state capital, Ado Ekiti, revealed that registration exercise was delayed in most units as electorates leveled aforementioned allegations.
One of the electorate at the L. A. Nursery and Primary School in Olobe Okeisa, Unit 16 polling centre, Ilesanmi Susan said: “I have been coming here since Thursday. I have been here since 6am this morning and this is about five hours but I haven’t registered. The officials have been quite unfriendly, they just push everyone away.
” We have a situation where while only 50 people are on ground physically, the two or three INEC officials on ground are attending to a list of over 120 names already penned down. So, it does appear as if the INEC officials have their own friends that they are registering. And those people are invisible. I am even tired about the whole system, don’t think I will come for the registration again after today.”
Another person, Adigun Bisi, said:” It is appalling that in the centre where I would have registered, Saint Paul Anglican church on Pky Road, INEC officials are demanding for a sum of N1,000 from each person to get them registered and this is because there is also so much crowd here and this is the centre catering for many communities around here and in many miles apart.”
Reacting to the complainants and allegations by the people, an INEC stakeholder accredited to observe the ongoing CVR and distribution of PVCs, Mr. Babafunso Tunde said, “The essence of bringing this to ward level is to enable INEC officials to withstand the pressure during the governorship poll.
“What has been happening here in unit 16 is that the people give their names ahead of time and get 24 hours to come back for registration. Today , they have the list of those who gave their names yesterday and are attending to them. But what all the people who come here want is to be attended to immediately which has not be possible because of the crowd.
” I urge the people to give them maximum cooperation and the INEC officials will be able to cope with the pressure. At the INEC LG level, they have increased the number of laptops in all the registration centres.
“With the situation now and because they have come to the ward level, they might need to increase the machines because of the urban centre pressure. We will pass on the message about the paucity of machines to the appropriate quarters.
” When I come in here, they told me that they have a list from which they call names to register. But what has been happening is that there are so many people coming such that they are attending to the list of names compiled yesterday today and it may have to be tomorrow before they attend to those who have come today.
” Our people must ensure that they register for the voting exercise. We appeal to everybody to be patient and get properly registered.
“There is no way anyone can manipulate election in Nigeria any longer because of the process where all party officials would have to be on ground and sign for results of election which copies they would also have each.
” People must also be aware that those who have registered in 2011, 14,15 and 16 , are the ones whose permanent voters card are available now. The ones who newly registered would have their PVC available from May. Their names have been displayed at various registration centres for verification and correction in vase of any mistake,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ekiti State has thumbed up the State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose, for his proactive steps in ensuring that as many people as possible take part in the ongoing voter registration exercise in the state.
Speaking in Ado-Ekiti on Friday, the the Vice Chairman, Comrade Kayode Akosile, said the declaration of a work free day for public servants would allow those who have not registered to do so.
“This is not politics or has anything to do with that. It is about the future of Ekiti and our people and we must not toy with it. Also, this exercise is to allow those who have relocated from other places to Ekiti to get their cards transferred to Ekiti here.
“Anybody whose card is damaged and needs a replacement would also be able to do so. And those that have come of age after the last exercise can now register,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Head of Service, Dr Gbenga Faseluka, said the directive by Governor Fayose that senior civil servants should help monitor the exercise in their localities was being complied with.
“We have subsequently mobilised our senior civil servants to go to their different communities and locations to monitor the exercise. We implore those who are yet to register to do so. Also, those who have issues about their cards can also take advantage of this period to resolve such,” he said.