From Jimoh Joseph, Ado Ekiti
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , has assured
that cases of underage voting won’t be allowed during the July 14 governorship election in the state.
The commission clarified that the electoral body has not allowed such tendency during registration exercises that had been undertaken in Ekiti since inception, assuring that such won’t be witnessed in the impending election .
The commission also regretted that about 215,000 Permanent Voter Cards are yet to be claimed by owners few months to election in spite of its sensitization and campaign programmes .
Speaking with newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof Abdulganiy Raji , said the body won’t allow any sharp practice, including underage voting thatcan vitiate the electoral process during the poll.
Raji spoke based on controversies that raged over the just concluded Kano local government elections, where some under aged voters were allegedly found to have voted.
He said: “From inception, we have not accepted such tendency here in Ekiti and we won’t tolerate it. Election is a serious matter that has to do with people’s sovereignty that must not be abridged in any form.
“So, we are assuring you that the Ekiti governorship election will meet international standard. We will improve on our outstanding past records to the extent that all the political parties and stakeholders will have cause to commend us”.
He said the state government has been partnering traditional rulers, religious organizations , political parties and the media to increase the political awareness of the electorate in Ekiti.
“We have done a lot of jingles and also working with all our outfits in the 16 local governments for voter education , but despite our people seem to be showing apathy . As we speak now, we have about 215,000 PVCs with us that are yet to be claimed .
“We are hopeful that all these will be collected before that election, because our aim is to ensure that we have high turnout during that election like we witnessed in July 21, 2014”.
Speaking on the preparedness of the electoral body for the governorship election, the INEC boss said: “Yes, we are working with the National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) where we will draw our ad hoc staff from.
“We have started training them and engaging them in election seminars,
so that they can be well educated about the conduct of elections.
“We have started rood training for our staff here in INEC and we are awaiting instructions from our national headquarters to lift ban on electioneering campaigns, so that we can increase our work rate here in our office”, he stated.