The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday presented soft copies of voters’ register for the Sept.22 Osun governorship election to the 38 political parties participating in the election.
Mr. Segun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Osun, presented the register to the representatives of political parties at the INEC office in Osogbo.
Agbaje said that some political parties had approached him to collect the register individually, but he insisted that the copies must be distributed to all the parties at the same time.
He said the presentation of the register was in line with INEC’s guidelines, urging the political parties to call the commission’s attention to any wrong they discovered after going through the document.
He assured the parties of INEC’s neutrality, advising them to promptly report any officer of the commission found culpable of wrongdoing, including himself, to the national headquarters of the electoral body.
Agbaje gave the parties the details of the efforts INEC had made in the compilation of the register in order to ensure a successful election in the state.
The resident electoral commissioner appealed to the representatives of the political parties to inform the electorate about the importance of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) during the election.
“As we speak, the majority of the non-sensitive materials that would be used for the conduct of the election have been received from INEC headquarters, Abuja, and distributed to INEC offices across the state.
“Furthermore, a total of 1,152,773 PVCs have been collected by their owners out of 1,668,524 received in the state, leaving a balance of 515,751 as at Aug.17.
“It is important for you to help us to inform the people on the need to collect their PVCs during your campaigns and rallies because, without PVC, nobody would be allowed to vote,” he said.
Mr. Adedeji Shoyebi, INEC National Commissioner in charge of Oyo, Osun, and Ekiti said the presentation was to enable them to verify the voters and fish out underage persons and foreigners included in the list.
He said that it was sad that over 500,000 PVCs had yet to be collected out of the over 1.6 million produced for registered voters in the state.
He said that meant that about one-third of voters in the state had yet to collect their PVCs and might not vote during the election.
Shoyebi warned that the commission would not tolerate vote-buying and violence during exercise.
The national commissioner warned that anyone caught in the act of violence or inducing voters with money would face the full wrath of the law.
He, however, advised the political parties to call on the electorate yet to collect their PVCs to do so, urging them to also sensitise their members, especially the youths, to eschew violence during the election.