Seeks synergy between stakeholders
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Anambra State Branch has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to urgently take some proactive steps towards ensuring that the main motive for the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration Exercise across the country is not jeopardized.
In a press statement issued in Onitsha yesterday titled: “A Clarion Call For Decentralization o f The Exercise to Polling Units”signed by the State CLO Chairman, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, Secretary, Chidi Mbah and Campaign/ Publicity Secretary, Nicholas Amoke, the CLO noted that after its review of the ongoing exercise, it has become imperative that INEC takes some steps to address some hiccups and constraints already impeding the success of the exercise.
“The essence of democracy is anchored on mass participation of the citizens. In dissecting the current exercise, we found out that it is cumbersome, worrisome and tedious when potential voters are subjected to a distance of 20 kilometers or more to get voters cards. Based on recent survey carried out by this noble organization, there is a complete low turnout of potential voters. This apathy is even more on those below the age of 20 years who are mostly the target of the exercise.
“We equally observed with dismay that there is dearth of INEC staff to carry out the exercise in some areas. In some cases, eligible voters, who turned up for registration were asked to go and come back the next day. The idea of restricting the exercise to local government headquarters will erode the exercise and disenfranchise many potential voters.
“Hence, we are calling on INEC to make haste and provide logistics. This is to ensure that, the exercise is extended to polling units as was the previous practice before the current exercise.
While calling for the extension of the deadline for the exercise, the CLO called for a holistic synergy among stakeholders like Traditional Rulers, Religious Bodies and Civil Society Organisations to ensure that adequate awareness is created.
They called on INEC to also adopt hourly jingles on Radio and Television Stations across the country while the use of advertorials on National Newspapers and social media will equally help to sensitize Nigerians on the exercise.
“Furthermore, we call on Anambra residents to avail themselves of this wonderful opportunity offered by the exercise to get their Voters Cards. This is to ensure that they take active part in the upcoming Anambra State governorship election later this year and other general elections in Nigeria. It is estimated that over eight hundred thousand (800,000) permanent Voters Cards are still lying uncollected at our various Local Government Councils.
The CLO also appealed to the Anambra State government and politicians in the state to do everything within their powers to make sure the registration exercise is successful in the state.