INEC tasks Enugu monarchs on electoral laws

By Mary Okoh
Enugu
The National Commisioner of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Okoye, has urged traditional rulers in Enugu State to educate their subjects on electoral laws.
Okoye gave the advice during an interactive session with traditional rulers in Enugu State on Monday.
Okoye said that the commission would punish any violator of electoral law hence the need for traditional rulers to caution their subjects against violating the rules.
He said, “As we gradually approach the elections, the commision has also embarked upon robust voter enlightenment. Here in Enugu State, we urge our royal fathers to help us enlighten the people in your domains about the various aspects of the elections. These include the voting procedures, the importance of voting, mobilization of voters especially the women, youths and people living with disabilities.”
The INEC chief also emphasized the need for the royal fathers to sensitize the people in their domains about importance of maintaining peace during and after election.
The commissioner, who expressed worry over vote buying, said, “tThe commision has responded to the menace in three ways which is to alter the configuration of our polling units by moving the ballot boxes closer to the voting cubicles to make it difficult for voters to expose their marked ballot papers.

“We also introduced a partial ban on the use of mobile phone and other photographic devices by voters while in the voting cubicles as well as the introduction of rolling and flattening of ballot papers by voters before casting them into the ballot boxes,” he said.
“A new method of vote buying is being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now going round buying up PVCs from voters or financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Number (VIN) in their PVCs. In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected,” said the commissioner.
Okoye however re-assured that the Smart Card Readers would be used for the 2019 General Elections for accreditation of voters, noting that cloned cards or cards that do not match the codes for a particular polling unit in which the voter is registered would be rejected by the card readers.
Also, the State Resident Electoral Commisioner, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, said that Permanent Voter Collection (PVC) in the state was progressing, stressing, “but much is required to be done to ensure that all registrants collect their PVCs before one week to 16th of February Presidentisl and National Assembly election.
“Currently, as at January 8th, 2019, the total uncollected PVCs in Enugu state stands at 383,281 (both 2014 and 2018) while the total collected PVCs stands at 1,559,495. INEC will keep providing you with update on this as we intensify efforts on PVC collection by opening permanent collection centres in all the 260 registration areas between the periods of 16th to 21st January 2019,” he added.

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