Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it would continue to do its best to ensure that registered voters collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of 2019 elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance in an interview on Monday in Abuja.
Yakubu recalled that over seven million PVCs were not collected from the 2015 general elections.
“We have been trying our best but so far only a little over 500,000 cards have been collected nationwide.
“We will continue to do whatever we can to ensure that the cards were collected ahead of the next general elections,” he said, adding that the commission was emphasising on collection than distribution.
According to Yakubu, we are emphasising on collection because we want the true owners of the cards to collect them rather than by proxy with the possibility that the cards may end up in wrong hands.
On whether the commission would patronise domestic printers in the printing of ballot papers for 2019 elections, he said “the first priority of INEC has been to patronise indigenous printers.
“Since the 2015 general elections INEC has conducted elections in 180 constituencies and in none of these constituencies were the sensitive and non-sensitive materials printed out of the country.
“As a matter of course, for sometimes now the commission does not engaged foreign printers directly. We engage Nigerian printers who may have partnership with printers outside the country.
“So, our priority is to patronise Nigeria printers and Nigerian service providers; that policy remains unchanged.’’
The chairman said that INEC was working with the security agencies charged with responsibilities to provide security for elections to ensure peaceful exercises in 2019.
“The security agencies have assured and reassured us that they will provide security for the general elections.’’
He also disclosed that the commission had benefited tremendously from the implementation of the recommendations from stakeholders.
These, according to him, include recommendations from domestic election observers, media, civil society organisations and international observers, including African Union, European Union, Commonwealth and ECOWAS.
Yakubu said that one of the implemented recommendations was simultaneous accreditation and voting on the day of election.
“We have been implementing those recommendations, particularly those that can be implemented by the commission.
“Remember there are three categories of those recommendations – those that can be implemented by pricking our policies, those that can be implemented through amendment of framework for conducting elections, and those that can be implemented by executive actions.
“We have taken actions on all the three stages,’’ he said.
On the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti, the chairman said that INEC was committed and focused on delivering credible polls in spite of all accusations.
“I want to assure the good people of Ekiti that the election will not only be free and fair, but that only their votes will determine who becomes the next governor of the state,’’ he stated.
He said that the commission had been preparing for the election in terms of recruitment and training of ad hoc staff and deployment of logistics.
“We have delivered all the non-sensitive materials to Ekiti and we are tracking everything.
“We are prepared for Ekiti the same way we are prepared for all other elections.
“We are confident with the level of preparations that we have made for the election and we will have a good outcome,’’ Yakubu stated. (NAN)