Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is still investigating the double registration saga of Yahaya Bello, the Governor of Kogi State.
Ndidi Okafor, Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity, FCT, disclosed this in Abuja at a one-day town hall meeting on the ‘Roadmap to a Sustainable Electoral Process in Nigeria: Targeting Market Women Ahead of the 2019 General Elections’, organised by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG).
She revealed that the first quarter of INEC registration exercise which started in January 8, 2018,will end today, March 22.
Asked why INEC is yet to take decision on Bello’s double registration saga, she said, “if you registered twice and you are persecuted and convicted, the law says a fine of N100,000 or one year imprisonment or both; but on the immediate the commission will delete that person’s data from the national register. Double registration simply equals no PVC.
“In the case of Kogi state governor you are talking about, the national headquarters is on top of it,it is investigating and at the appropriate time they will let us know what has happened, I speak for the federal capital territory,” she stressed.
Okafor emphasised that since the registration commenced in the FCT, the commission has not recorded any issue of underage voter registration because the commission has been meticulous and compliant with what the rules and the law says.
When asked what INEC is doing to make voter registration less stressful in the FCT, she stressed; “When this exercise started nationwide on April 27,2017, we started with just six centres, and then there were clamours, there were demands for more centres. The commission then yielded to the demands of the people and give 16 additional centres, we had 22 and then an additional 10.
“We have 32 centres, we are not where we used to be; but what the commission has done is to do what we call rotation within the wards so that we can get to difficult terrains and the rural residence so that we can have them registered.”
Also, Felicia Sani, president General, Market Women Association of Nigeria, said she has taken it upon herself to go round the country and moibilise market women and men to register and vote, saying whoever refuses would not be allowed into the market.
Earlier, Okhiria Agbonsuremi, Chairman of PRIMORG, said Nigeria requires a comprehensive awareness and empowerment programme to assess the situation and educate its citizens about the responsibilities, duties and obligations of the state and the citizens in a democracy.
He noted that a situation whereby the fate of 193 million people is decided by 30 million people is not acceptable.
According to him, “this is the time for every Nigerian to get involved in political and Democratic process. It is projected that over 70 per cent of eligible Nigerians are onlookers and they constitute those who are not registered to vote and those registered but stay away from the polling centres on vote day. If a higher percentage of eligible voters take interest in the process and vote, the political fortune will dramatically shift to the positive side.”