#NigeriaDecides2019: INEC To Hire Donkeys, Bicycles In Gombe State

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to hire donkeys and bicycles to distribute election materials in hard-to-reach areas of Gombe State.

Alhaji Umar Ibrahim, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Gombe on Friday.

Ibrahim said the difficult terrains were villages located in Yamaltu-Deba and Shingom Local Government Areas of the state.

“We will hire donkeys, bicycles and motorcycles to distribute election materials.

“This is because some of the areas lack access routes and INEC has made adequate arrangements in the area of logistics as well as other areas,’’ he said.

Ibrahim said the commission had made adequate arrangements in terms of security and conducted massive voter education.

He noted that there was provision for brail ballot papers for the blind and the lepers could use their legs to vote.

Ibrahim said INEC also made provision for a magnifier for those that have a problem with their sight.

He also said the commission mounted tracking system and monitors for the election process.

NAN

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FG Exposes PDP’s Plan To Orchestrate Crisis, Trigger Panic Ahead Of Polls

With just a few days to the Presidential and National Assembly
elections, the Federal Government has alerted the nation to the
last-minute desperate plot by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to
orchestrate a crisis and trigger a sense of panic among the populace,
in furtherance of their plan to discredit the election and cause a
constitutional crisis.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information
and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the plot confirms the alarm
raised by the Federal Government on Jan. 21st and Feb. 3rd 2019 that
the PDP is planning to scuttle the election and, where that fails,
discredit it.

He said in the days ahead, PDP bigwigs, including its presidential
candidate Atiku Abubakar, his running mate Peter Obi, PDP Governors
and others, are planning a world press conference in order to level
frivolous and unfounded allegations against the federal government and
the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Alhaji Mohammed said that part of the false allegations they plan to
make is that the Presidency, in connivance with the APC, is planning
to force the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to
announce presidential election results that are favourable to the
government in power, on the basis of the false premise that the APC’s
intelligence team is worried that the ruling party would lose the elections.

He said the PDP bigwigs also plan to use their world press conference
to further disparage the Buhari Administration as well as the ruling
APC, with a view to painting an unfavourable image of both to
Nigerians and the international community and to put the government on
the defensive in the run-up to the polls.

The Minister said the PDP’s last joker is a two-hour live press
conference to be addressed by the PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola
Ologbodiyan, on Feb. 14th, the last day of electioneering campaign, to
chronicle all their concocted allegations and lies against the ruling
government, cast aspersion on government and ruling party officials
and throw innuendos here and there.

”As electioneering campaign winds down, the PDP has realized that it
cannot possibly win a free, fair and credible polls. It has thus
resorted to engaging in red herring, hauling insults and abuses at
federal government and ruling party officials and making outlandish
allegations with a view to creating a sense of panic and crisis.

”The truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari, a man respected
globally for his integrity, has continuously assured that the
elections will be free, fair, credible and peaceful. He has warmly
welcomed observers, both local and foreign., because he has nothing to
hide, and because he is sure that the achievements of his
Administration will win him re-election.

”We are therefore calling on all Nigerians and the international
community to disregard any attempt to scuttle or discredit the polls.
We urge observers to keep an open mind. There is no cause for alarm,
except in the warped imagination of the PDP, which has entered the
panic mode and is already ruing the loss of another general election
even before it has been held,” he said.

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It’s Impossible For Anyone To Clone Card Readers, Says INEC

With 19 days to the Presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured Nigerians that Card Readers can neither be cloned or pre-loaded.

According to a source who spoke with The Nation newspaper, he said: “It is impossible to compromise Card Readers or pre-load the cards. We have enhanced the cards, we have increased the memory of every card and we have increased the capacity of the battery of each card.

”Nobody on the field can tamper with any card reader because you have to break the seal.”

Regarding preparation for the general elections, the source said: “Our plans are on course, we are happy with the speed.

”We are almost through with the engagement of ad hoc staff. In most cases, we recruit from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) but the irony is that we do not have enough corps members.

“We will recruit students in final year or penultimate year in the universities where there is shortfall. We have established portals for the recruitment of ad hoc staff and as at Saturday, one million (1m) Nigerians have applied.”

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INEC Intensifies Issuance Of PVCs

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Ebonyi State says it has intensified efforts for easy issuance of Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs in the area.

The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Godswill Obioma, told Radio Nigeria that out of the three hundred and eighteen thousand PVCs received from its Headquarters in Abuja, over one hundred and forty-five thousand cards have been issued to their owners while about one hundred and seventy-two thousand cards are yet to be collected.

Professor Obioma explained that the commission had brought the collection points closer to the people to reduce the burden of traveling long distances to obtain them, and even work on Saturdays and Sundays for maximum result.

Professor Obioma cautioned eligible voters and politicians against selling and buying of PVCs, saying that the dynamics of the current electoral process would not allow rigging with such cards.

Professor Obioma said that INEC had begun a partnership with the National Orientation Agency, NOA, to sensitize the people to reduce incidences of void votes.

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Rigging Plot: APC Chieftain, Nabena Accuses PDP Of Hiring ex-INEC Chairman As Consultant

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Yekini Nabena has made startling disclosures that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has hired a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission as an ‘election consultant’ for the forthcoming polls.

Nabena who spoke with newmens on Sunday in Abuja, refused to disclose the name of the former INEC chairman. He instead challenged the PDP and its presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar to deny the allegation and equally charged relevant authorities to investigate the veracity if his allegations. 


“Following the exposure of the PDP’s initial plot to use Russian hackers to compromise INEC servers, the PDP has now hired a former INEC Chairman as an election consultant. This INEC Chairman was notorious for rigging elections for the PDP over the years.


“The plan is to use INEC officials who remain loyal to the former INEC Chairman and under his payroll to compromise the system from within.” Nabena said.


Asked to comment on the uproar that greeted the recent appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as chair of the INEC’s ad hoc committee on National Collation Centre for the 2019 elections, the Bayelsa-born APC Chieftain said Nigerians should not be deceived by the PDP-sponsored protest and fake news over her appointment.


“The baseless protests is a ploy to create a distraction for their (PDP’s) election rigging and hacking plans.


“The PDP has deliberately chosen to be blind to the fact that Mrs. Amina Zakari is not a blood relation of the President as it alleges. Infact, her appointment was done by their very own former President Goodluck Jonathan.


“Besides, INEC has publicly stated the roles of it’s recently inaugurates adhoc committees. The collation centre committee chaired by Mrs. Amina Zakari is in charge of operational logistics of the centre such as electricity, internet, live transmission as well as accreditation for access to the ICC and security of the venue.


“Mrs. Amina Zakari’s committee is not saddled with actual collation of results. Only the chairman of INEC, who is the returning officer for presidential election, decides the validity of votes.” He said.

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2019: Northern Youths Pass Vote Of Confidence On INEC

Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Northern Youths Leaders Forum has passed a vote of confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The group also commended the transparency demonstrated in carrying out its activities.

In a press conference organized by the group, it cautioned politicians and political parties against piling unnecessary pressure on INEC as it prepares for the conduct of the general election.

On the controversy surrounding the national minimum wage, the northern youths advised labour to suspend all kinds of industrial action and demand for an improved living wage until April.

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PDP Stalwart And INEC Accredited Observer Reveals His Party’s Secret Dealings With Electoral Officials Including Amina Zakari

A stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who also doubles as an accredited observer with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Amadi Chima has revealed some top secrets dealings of his party, the PDP with some officials of the electoral commission.

An obviously angry Amadi who couldn’t hide his disappointment with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took to his twitter account Tuesday to reveal what he described as party’s connivance with some officials of the electoral umpire with the intent of rigging the 2019 presidential election.

A knowledgeable source close to Amadi reveals that he had expected that the PDP will hire him as a consultant to do the dirty job of liasing with any willing INEC officials who will help the party to do the dirty job that would help the opposition party in her quest to wrestle power from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).

Amadi’s confidence of securing the job was predicated on the strength of his observer status with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and his closeness with the commission’s boss, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu during his sojourn as the Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The PDP however disappointed Amadi by appointing a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Maurice Iwu as the consultant who will handle the party’s relationship with the electoral commission.

In a series of tweet on his twitter account, Amadi expressed disappointment with the action of his party by revealing the PDP systemic control of some officials of INEC which also includes the controversial Amina Zakari.

Amina Zakari, who was served as the acting chairman of the commission following the exit of the former chairman, Attahiru Jega has been in the news of late. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had alleged that she is a niece to President Muhammadu and her recent appointment as the chairman and oversee the management of the electoral centre for the 2019 elections were seen by the party as a ploy by the president to rig the election.

The presidency has roundly refuted this allegation saying that Mrs Zakari is a it a niece to President Buhari neither does the president plan to rig the election.

Amadi however seems to share a different view. Though he maintained that Mrs Zakari is an indirect niece to President Buhari, her position at the electoral commission has never been to the benefit of the president. Instead, she has played the script of the PDP since her appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, he said.

According to Amadi, who said he was speaking based on his membership of the PDP since 1998 and his over 25 years participation in elections as an observer and expert commentator on democracy, further said that “Amina’s action in the INEC has not served any purpose for the president but has benefited my party, the PDP, to the detriment of the integrity of the elections until the current helmsman in INEC came on board to restore sanity to the commission.

He cited several instances to buttress his point one of which includes the campaign against the use of PVC by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.

“When in 2014 it became clear to the PDP that the technological innovations that Jega was introducing were going to be a bulwark against the tradition of votes allocation, a massive campaign was kickstarted to do away with the PVC and Smart Card Reader technology. This campaign played out in the media. Unbeknownst to many, the battle was not restricted to shaping opinions against the use of the PVC and SCR, it extended into the Commission. The arrowhead of those who called for the abandonment of the innovation was Amina Zakari.”

Continuing, he said, “Amina Zakari, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, and another National Commissioner, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, a card-carrying member of the PDP, led the groundswell of opposition against the deployment of technology in the 2015 elections which created a sharp divide in the Commission.”

“In fact, Jega had to beat a retreat in implementing full use of technology in the transmission of results because of the opposition mounted by these Commissioners who were apparently carrying out the instructions of external forces.”

“I was therefore amused that the same party raised hell when PMB wrongly rejected the Electoral Act Amendment on account of the electronic transmission of results clauses in the Bill.”

“One of the issues the PDP raised against president Buhari’s ill-advised and very vexatious withholding of assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is related to the use of incident forms during elections.”

“However, not many Nigerians may know that these forms were first muted by Amina Zakari to the Commission under Jega as a way of cushioning the effect of the SCR. We now know that the PDP were the biggest beneficiaries of the extensive use of incident forms introduced by Zakari.”

To further buttress his claim that the PDP benefited more from the use of incidence form in the 2015 elections, Amadi brought in figures where he compared the percentage of use of incidence form in  areas where President Muhammadu scored more votes than his closest challenger, former President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice versa.

“In Kano and Katsina, out of the 3,943,080 that were accredited to vote in both States in 2015, 851,062 used incident forms, representing about 22% of the total votes cast. Comparatively, in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, out of the 2,717,479 persons that were accredited to vote, a whopping 2,525,460 used incident forms, representing an outrageous 93%. Amina’s ‘ingenious’ contribution to democracy in Nigeria came through for the PDP.”

Amadi also used the Bayelsa governorship election held in 2016 as another instance where Amina Zakari while serving as acting chairman of the commission played the script of the PDP by allowing over one hundred thousand ghost voters to vote in the election.

“As Acting Chairman of the INEC, following Jega’s departure, Amina almost bungled the Bayelsa elections. Under her watch, over one hundred thousand ghost voters, many with almanack pictures as identification were introduced into the Bayelsa Voters Register.”

“It was not until the appointment of Prof.Yakubu as the INEC chairman that this anomaly was corrected through the deployment of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System(AFIS).Many of these ghost registrants were in areas that were considered the PDP’s stronghold in Bayelsa.”

He also wrote on the role Amina Zakari played in the 2015 governorship election held in Kogi state where late Prince Abubakar AUDU was coasting home to victory until his death before the final declaration of the election results.

According to him, “while many were too eager to lampoon the INEC for the Kogi debacle in 2015, only a handful may be aware that the needless quagmire would have been avoided if Amina did not try to save the PDP from crushing defeat in the hands of the APC under late Abubakar Audu.”

“The Kogi election was to be won at first ballot when Amina surprisingly decided to proceed to Kogi rather than remain in the INEC Headquarters as Head of the Elections Operations Committee. Amina drafted to the field another PDP appointee and someone she relentlessly lobbied to continue as national commissioner, Prince Soyebi. Amina would move to Dekina local government area which is the home of the PDP candidate, Idris Wada. It was the crises in Dekina that led to the declaration of the election as inconclusive.”

After also revealing the role Amina Zakari played in the Osun election which brought in Alhaji Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the new governor, having defeated his strongest challenger, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an election that went into supplementary polls, Amadi said “not too many followers of events at the INEC were surprised when the INEC chairman announced changes in the Headship of committees within the Commission, a move that effectively brought Amina’s reign and influence over elections to an abrupt end.”

He had earlier explained how the then INEC chairman, Jega, whom he said is very much aware of “Amina’s unwholesome affinity with politicians and waited” had waited patiently until the last minute where just a few days to the 2015 elections, was removed as the Head of the Elections and Party Monitoring Committee of the INEC and moved to the Planning Committee which had basically finished all its elections planning.

He said “Perhaps this deployment was instrumental to the success of the 2015 elections.

Amadi wondered why the PDP is now washing its hands off Amina since “she is their creation and has paid back adequately.”

He said, “Instructively, Amina Zakari was the Head of the Collation Centre sub-Committee in 2015, the same sub-Committee that the PDP is now rejecting, there is no record of the party objecting to that appointment since she was related to a man that would be on the ballot with the party’s candidate.”

Amadi describes the PDP’s Press Release on the announcement of Amina’s Headship of the Collation Centre sub-Committee citing conflict of interest as its reason for rejecting her appointment as hogwash.

He said “A party that had no qualms in nominating card-carry members of her party into the Commission cannot now lecture the nation on ethics and propriety. I was disgustingly amused when I sighted Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, a former INEC National Commissioner, and Mr Nasir Ayilara, former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner representing Kwara State, at the last PDP National Delegate Convention in Port Harcourt, proudly hanging their delegate cards on their necks.

“It is not also hidden that the former Governor of Abia State, Ochendo Theodore Orji was once an INEC Administrative Secretary. The current governor of Bauchi State was an INEC Commissioner appointed by the PDP. In all these, where was the party’s sense of propriety?”

“If the PDP takes a critical introspective look at its position on Amina, they would realise that they are inadvertently conceding that President Mohammadu Buhari and by extension the APC are better character judges than the PDP ever was.”

“Out of the 12 serving National Commissioners of INEC, only Amina and Prince Adedeji Soyebi were original appointees of the PDP. In castigating Amina, the PDP has tacitly admitted that the 10 National Commissioners appointed by Buhari have better character traits than appointees it sponsored initially to the Commission.”

“The PDP cannot distance itself from Amina, they created her and turned her into what she has become today. She is their baggage, and they must embrace her. Perhaps, the improvements in elections management have ensured that the Party is no longer getting value for money from Amina leading the bigwigs to conclude that she has become a rogue agent.  That the party would think that out of the 12 National Commissioners, 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners, 38 Returning Officers, and the hundreds of people that would be in the ICC, one woman has the powers to determine the outcome of elections tells Nigerians all they need to know about the quality of opposition in Nigeria.”

Amadi’s apparent anger for the selection of former INEC boss, Maurice Iwu against persons like him later came to bear on his tweet as he said the “PDP is still holed up in the past and is refusing to ask some of us within its fold that engage with the process to enlighten its apparatchiks on current trends in elections management. Why would they not have this medieval mentality when rumours have it that they have engaged the discredited Maurice Iwu as one of their elections consultants.”

He wondered why the PDP is chasing shadows and engaging in irrelevant distractions rather than run an aggressive issues-based campaign to present a credible alternatives to voters.

He said “the end game will perhaps be to have an excuse for a defeat if its lacklustre campaigns come back to haunt it.”

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INEC Unveils App That Will Help You Monitor 2019 Election

Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said it had developed a special mobile application that would allow Nigerians monitor the 2019 general election and reduce electoral malfeasance.

A National Commissioner with INEC and Chairman, Board of The Electoral Institute, TEI, Dr. Mustapha Lecky, made the disclosure in Abuja, while declaring open a three-day workshop on Electoral Security Training of Trainers Workshop for State Training Officers.

He said the app, which can be freely downloaded through the INEC website or Google Playstore has geo-referencing features which can enable officials of the commission identify wherever challenges may arise and alert security agencies to take charge in any part of the country.

According to him, the app was developed to address the new phenomenon of “vote buying,” a recurring feature in recent elections in the country.

He said: “We have deployed something that as at today, if you go to INEC website or Google play, you can download an INEC i-reporter which is something that INEC has spent a lot of money in developing.

“It allows every Nigerian to be an observer and a reporter of events as it happen.

“This you can download freely and have it on your smart phones, so you can take pictures, you can also take a short video and send it to us.

“It is geo-reference, so we know exactly where that issue is taking place and we can easily draw the attention of police or other security agencies to make sure that matter is actually addressed.”

On the issue of vote buying, Lecky said the commission had deployed a number of measures to ensure it does not interfere with the electoral process in 2019.

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2019: INEC To Recruit One Million Adhoc Staff

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC says it will recruit about one million adhoc staff for the 2019 general elections.

This was disclosed by the INEC commissioner in charge of information and voters education, Mr. Festus Okoye at a one day seminar on media and gender sensitization on elections, in Abuja.

Mr. Okoye said that the adhoc staff would be made up of lecturers in Federal institutions, members of the national youth service corps and students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“These categories of adhoc staff will serve as returning officers, collation officers, supervisory presiding officers and Assistant Presiding officers,”he said.

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2019: All PVCs Ready For Collection, Says INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has printed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for all new registered voters between 2017 and 2018 and they are ready for collection.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja after the swearing-in of the new Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony.

Yakubu also said that all the PVCs of those who requested for replacement and relocation of their cards ahead of 2019 general elections, had also been printed and ready for collections.

”The commission has printed all PVCs for new registrants between April 27, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2018.

”We have also printed all the requests for replacement of lost cards, all requests for transfer and relocations.

”The last batch that we printed were for those who applied for transfer and relocation, and those who applied for replacement of damaged and defaced cards.

”This will be delivered immediately after the Christmas break. So we are happy to say that all 14.5 million or so new registered voters have their cards printed and delivered to the states. So we are good to go on that,” Yakubu said.

Yakubu, who also spoke on the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and its implications on the 2019 general elections, said that the commission would meet with union leaders in tertiary institutions for a way forward.

The INEC Chairman said that the ongoing strike was worrisome as the commission also sourced some of its election ad hoc staff from the tertiary institutions.

”The bulk of the ad hoc staff will be drawn from the National Youth Service Corps members but where there is shortfall, and obviously there would be shortfall, we rely on the universities.

”Remember we also rely on the universities to draw our collation and returning officers.

”So the ongoing strike is worrisome in case some of them say because of the ongoing strike they will not participate in the elections.

”But the ASUU has been good friend of the commission and we intend to meet with the President of the ASUU next week so that we can discuss and iron this out.

”We will also extend it to the lecturers of polytechnics and colleges of education so that we will meet with the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and all other unions in the tertiary education sub-sectors,” the chairman said. (NAN)

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INEC Expresses Concern over Security Personnel’s Perceived Bias

INEC has expressed deep concern over perceived lack of neutrality of some security personnel ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the police/stakeholders’ security summit organised for the Nigeria Police Force.

He noted that INEC would engage with the security agencies, particularly the police, in defining new parameters for the deployment of security agencies in the electoral process.

According to him “As with all elections, security is going to be a major issue in the 2019 general elections. Security agencies have a responsibility to secure the environment for elections. In doing so, there is the overriding responsibility for professionalism and neutrality.

“The rules of engagement must be clear to all. Learning from the cumulative experience of the off-season elections conducted into 195 constituencies since the 2015 general election, the conduct of some security personnel has become a major issue of discussion. We are deeply concerned.”

He stressed that the commission would continue to work with the security agencies for the arrest and prosecution of violators of the electoral act.

According to Yakubu, “Working together with the police, we have successfully prosecuted 42 electoral offenders following violent disruption of the Minjibir State Constituency by-election in Kano in 2016.

“Similarly, a number of other prosecutions are ongoing in Rivers State and most recently in Osun State where the police has forwarded nine case files to the commission, out of which three cases involving vote buying and illegal possession of PVCs are being prosecuted. INEC believes that the best deterrence to violations of the law during elections is swift prosecution. We will continue to work with the security agencies in this regard,” he added.

The chairman also revealed that all Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for fresh registrants have been printed and delivered to the states and FCT for collection at various local government area offices.

“The commission plans to devolve the collection to at least the Ward level soon. We will keep citizens informed of the process. However, the 1,178,793 requests for replacement of damaged, defaced or lost PVCs as well as the 769,917 requests for intra and inter-state transfers are being processed. The PVCs will be delivered to the states by the end of this week,” he said.

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INEC Registered 14.5m Voters In Last CVR, Says Yakubu

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday said in Abuja that 14.5 million voters were registered in the last Continuous Voter Registration exercise (CVR).

Yakubu, who made the disclosure at a security summit, organised by the Nigeria police, said he was glad to report that all PVCs for fresh registrants have been printed and delivered to the states and FCT, Abuja.He said this followed the mobilisation of eligible citizens by stakeholders in the electoral process to register as fresh voters.

The commission appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders, socio-cultural associations, civil society organisations and the media to similarly mobilise the new registrants to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).He said INEC plans to devolve the collection to at least, the ward level, while promising to keep citizens informed about the process.

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