Ahead of the Bayelsa and Kogi Nov. 16, Governorship Poll, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has says it has so far distributed 2,485136 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to the electorate.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman disclosed this at a quarterly consultative meeting of the Commission with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja on Wednesday.
“A total of 889,308 PVCs were collected in Bayelsa, while 1,485,828 PVCs were collected by the electorate in Kogi as of Sept. 30,” he said.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said in Bayelsa, the number of PVCs collected represented 96.3 percent of 923,182 registered voters in the state, while the number of uncollected PVCs stood at 33,874, representing 3.7 percent. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also said 1,485,828 PVCs were collected in Kogi, representing 90.2 percent of 1,646,350 registered voters in the state, while 160,522 PVCs were still uncollected, representing 9.8 percent of the registered voters.
“The commission will make available detailed figures of PVCs collected in each state by Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Registration Areas (RAs) as part of our continuing effort to deepen transparency and accountability. Copies will be made available at the commission stakeholders’ meetings in Yenagoa and Lokoja. The same information will also be uploaded on the INEC website.
“Meanwhile, all uncollected PVCs have been retrieved from our LGA offices and would be deposited at the branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Bayelsa and Kogi for safekeeping, pending the resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR),’’ he said.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu also disclosed that the commission has accredited 135 domestic observer groups and 16 foreign observer groups for the Nov. 16 election in the two states. He said that while 67 domestic observer groups were accredited for Bayelsa, 68 were accredited for Kogi, and eight foreign observer groups for each of the states.
The INEC boss, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu reminded the observer groups of the imperative of submitting their reports in line with the terms of their accreditation.
“For the 2019 General Elections, INEC accredited a total of 159 observer groups out of which 120 were domestic and 39 foreign. Collectively, they proposed to deploy 73,562 observers made up of 71,256 domestic and 2,306 foreign.
“However, seven months after the general elections, the commission has so far received reports from only 72 observer groups representing 45.2 percent, out of 159.
“I wish to remind those that are yet to formally submit their reports to the Commission to do so in earnest in both hard and soft copies as required of them under their terms of accreditation,’’ he said.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said that for the groups that had submitted their reports, INEC had analysed their recommendations for implementation.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, however, noted that the majority of the recommendations tend to be general and not detailed and specific enough for remedial action.
“This is especially where inadequacies or failures that could lead to action taken against individuals or groups were reported. More detailed and accurate recommendations will help us identify locations, individuals or groups responsible for infractions and take appropriate action or in the case of exceptional performance to commend those responsible,’’ he said.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed that the commission had had engagement with security agencies to ensure unimpeded access to voting locations and collation centres for accredited observers and the media in Bayelsa and Kogi. This according to him was in addition to adequate protection for all, including election officials and voters.
“We also agreed that the rules of engagement for security officials on election duty should be reprinted and made available to the security personnel and stakeholders,” he said.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu assured that CSOs would continue to play an important role in the country’s democratic process.
“We value your engagement with the Commission and will continue to deepen it,’’ he said.