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 68.8 million Nigerians to vote in Feb. elections –INEC

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eddyvic
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PostSubject: 68.8 million Nigerians to vote in Feb. elections –INEC   Wed 14 Jan 2015, 7:10 am

A total of 68,833,476 Nigerians
registered for next month’s
general elections, the Independent
National Electoral Commission has
said.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru
Jega, at a meeting with the national
leadership of all the 23 registered
political parties in Abuja on
Tuesday evening, added that over
four million people were involved
in multiple registrations.
He said, “In line with the provisions
of the law, the commission has just
announced the publication of the
register of voters that will be used
for the February 2015 general
elections. The total number of
voters registered for the elections
is 68,833,476.”
Jega explained that the names of
those involved in double
registration had been deleted
from the computer.
He said that 38,774,391 Nigerians
had so far collected their
Permanent Voter Cards out of the
54,341,610 that were ready as of
Monday last week.
Jega added that the commission
had ordered for more PVCs and that
some were already awaiting
collection.
The INEC boss said, “The
commission has taken delivery of
additional PVCs from its contractor
and we are positive that we will
have all outstanding cards with us
by January 28, 2015.
“For the avoidance of doubt,
possession of PVCs is a strict
condition for anyone intending to
vote in the 2015 elections.”
Asked about the resolution passed
by the House of Representatives
shortly before he met with the
leaders of the parties asking INEC to
also use Temporary Voter Cards , he
said he was not aware of the
resolution.
He nevertheless said that the
commission was working with the
intent of using only PVCs for the
elections.
Jega regretted that many Nigerians
had failed to collect their PVCs,
adding that in order to address this,
the commission had directed all its
resident electoral commissioners
to further decentralise the
distribution of the cards to the
ward level.
The distribution, according to him ,
would begin at 8. 30am and end at
5. 30pm every day except Sunday.
He added, , “INEC will use card
readers for the elections. The
commission has taken delivery of
more than 130,000 units of the card
readers and we are on schedule to
receive the remaining quantity
before the end of January.”
Jega announced that the
deployment of the cards to states
had started, adding that there were
about 150,000 polling points in the
country.
He said that elections would hold in
all the parts of the country,
including the troubled North-East,
but added that this might be
difficult in some local governments
being fully occupied by Boko
Haram.
The electoral umpire added, “INEC
has always said it is preparing to
conduct elections in all the 36
states of the federation, including
the three North- East states
experiencing the challenge of
insurgency.
“The commission, however, will
work closely with security agencies
who have the constitutional
responsibility for security .”
On whether Internally Displaced
Persons would vote, he said that
the commission was finalising
arrangements to enable them to
vote.
He said on Tuesday, the
commission would meet with
stakeholders to present its plans
and get their input.
Jega also said that 14 political
parties submitted candidates for
the presidential election. But he
did not give the names of the
parties and the candidates.
For the senatorial election, where
there are 109 seats. he said that
there are 739 candidates. About
1,780 candidates, according to him,
are vying for the 360 seats in the
House of Representatives.
This makes the total number of
candidates vying for the 479 seats
in the National Assembly 2,519.
Jega said that INEC would publish
the lists of the candidates for the
state elections (governors and the
State Houses of Assembly) on
January 27.
Earlier, the Director, ICT
Department in the commission, Mr.
Chidi Nwafor, made a presentation
to the party leaders on how the
commission carried out the
registration exercise.
He said that some voters used
different names to register.
In his submission, the Chairman of
Inter-Party Advisory Council, Mr.
Tanko Yunisa, commended INEC for
its strict compliance with the law.
He asked that copies of the voter
register be presented to parties to
enable them to make their
observations where necessary.
Reps ask INEC to allow TVCs for
polls
The House of Representatives had
earlier on Tuesday asked INEC to
allow Nigerians with TVCs to vote
during the elections.
It said in a resolution it passed in
Abuja that it was unlikely that INEC
would give every eligible voter the
Permanent Voter Card before the
elections.
Members of the House argued that
allowing the use of the TVCs along
with the PVCs was the only way to
avoid denying many Nigerians
their right to vote.
The call was one of the key
resolutions the lawmakers passed
as they reconvened on Tuesday
from their Christmas and New Year
holidays.
In another resolution, the House
ordered an investigation into the
recent allegation by the
Department of State Service that
the All Progressives Congress
planned to hack the database of
INEC.
The motions on the two issues
were moved by the House Minority
Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and
the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr.
Leo Ogor.
Defending the motion on TVCs,
Gbajabiamila, an APC lawmaker,
noted that if INEC insisted on using
the PVCs, many eligible voters
would be disenfranchised.
Members immediately endorsed
the motion without allowing
further debate and asked INEC to
make provisions for the use of TVCs
in its guidelines for the elections.
Part of Gbajabiamila’s motion
reads, “INEC has been and is still
issuing permanent voter cards to
eligible voters in replacement of
the temporary voter cards issued to
Nigerians about four years ago.
“Concerned that the general
elections being just four weeks or
31 days from now, it is very unlikely
that the commission will be able to
distribute the PVCs to all registered
and eligible voters before the
elections.
“Disturbed that if the current
position of the commission (that
only voters with the PVCs are
qualified to vote) is not addressed,
many registered and eligible
voters will be disenfranchised in
the 2015 general elections to the
detriment of the growth of
democracy in Nigeria.
“The House resolves that the
commission should include in its
election guidelines for the 2015
general elections a provision(s)
allowing registered voters with the
temporary voter cards (TVCs) whose
names are on record to vote during
the 2015 general elections.”
Commenting on the resolution, the
Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal,
observed that it was the
responsibility of INEC to give all
eligible voters a PVC.
However, he said if the same INEC
was unable to do so, it should not
punish those with TVCs by
denying them voting rights.
“If INEC registered someone and it
is unable to provide the PVC, the
voter should be allowed to use
TVC”, the speaker added.
When asked whether INEC would
allow the use of TVCs for the
February elections, the Chief Press
Secretary to the INEC chairman,
Kayode Idowu, said that all PVCs
would be made available to
registered voters before the
elections.
Idowu, who was silent on whether
TVCs would be used, said, “A motion
was moved suggesting that option
only if INEC cannot produce the
PVCs of registered voters before
February 14. The commission is
positive that the PVCs will all be
produced and expects voters to
come and pick them.”
Idowu had told The PUNCH that
38,774,391 people had as of last
Wednesday collected the PVCs.
The zonal analysis of the figure
(34,774,391) indicated that the
North-West and the South-West led
the other four zones in the
collection of the PVCs.
For example, in the North-West
which has seven states, 12,013,961
PVCs had been collected. The
seven states in the zone are Kebbi,
Zamfara, Jigawa, Sokoto, Kano,
Katsina and Kaduna.
There were also 6,270,736 PVCs that
had been collected in the six states
of the South-West. The states are
Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun and
Oyo.
South-South is third among the
zones with the highest number of
PVCs collected with 5,756,018. The
states in the zone are Bayelsa,
Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo
and Delta.
Trailing the zone is North-Central
with 5,520,001 cards collected.
States in the zone are Benue,
Kwara, Nasarawa, Kogi, Plateau and
Niger.
The House also on Tuesday agreed
that the alleged plot to hack INEC’s
database was a “serious” matter
considering the fact that the
database contained sensitive
information on elections.
Presenting the motion on the issue
to the House, Ogor, a PDP
lawmaker, stated, “The DSS
allegation relating to the alleged
plan to hack INEC database is a very
serious allegation.
“The allegation, coming at the
heels of an election period, calls for
concern that should not be treated
with levity.
“The INEC database may contain
highly-sensitive data and if
compromised, can cast heinous
aspersions on the integrity of the
forthcoming elections.”
The House therefore resolved to
set up a committee to investigate
the matter within two weeks.
Meanwhile, Tambuwal has
expressed displeasure over the
high turnover of lawmakers,
following the outcome of the
primaries of the various political
parties.
Addressing members as they
resumed work on Tuesday, the
speaker complained that the
“returning number is far below
expectations.”
He added that the failure of many
members to secure return ticket for
the next legislative tenure
(2015-2019) meant that the House
had again lost capable and
experienced hands.
“We have lost a lot of experience
and expertise”, he said to a moody
chamber.
Although Tambuwal did not give a
figure, findings showed that over
150 lawmakers failed to secure
their ticket during the primaries
held in December.
The loss cuts across the two major
political parties, the PDP and the
APC.
In 2011, only about 102 members
out of the 360, returned from the
2007-2011 set.
Despite losing their re-election bid,
Tambuwal still urged them to re-
dedicate themselves to duty in the
remaining months of their tenure.
The speaker said important bills
such as the Petroleum Industry Bill,
should receive urgent attention of
the members.
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