840,000 multiple registration were recorded in the country.
In their desperation to win the November 14 governorship election in Anambra, some politicians have reportedly begun buying voters’ cads from the electorates, the Independent National Electoral Commission has learnt.
Worried by the development, INEC has warned the politicians to desist from the act and other electoral malpractices.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Anambra, Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, gave the warning on Thursday when members of the state’s council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, paid him a courtesy visit.
The warning came amid widespread reports that politicians were mopping up voters’ cards, ahead of the polls.
There were also reports that several politicians had been ferrying people from Jos and Lagos, among other states, to come and register in Anambra during the seven-day continuous voter registration exercise in the state.
Mr. Onukaogu said such antics would not help the parties concerned.
He said that it was a waste of resources and time for anyone to think that the voter’s cards bought by politicians would be useful during the election as the cards would not be used to vote.
“For anyone to think that buying voters cards will win this election is dreaming. Those voters cards politicians are mopping up will not win election. Let the politicians go and market themselves to the electorate.”
He cautioned voters who may want to sell their cards.
“Selling your card means you will not vote and right now we are in court prosecuting 72 people for multiple registrations during the last voter registration exercise. We have caught one or two persons who tried to ‘double-register’ and you recall that in 2011, we had many multiple registration.”
He disclosed that 840,000 multiple registration were recorded across Nigeria with 93, 000 from Anambra alone. He also reassured of his incorruptibility and that of his staff.
“I have worked on the mind sets of my workers and they can’t be compromised either and our salary is regular as well as all that we need for the governorship election. I have not visited any politician for this election and I am not ready to so. I won’t even partner with any political party in voter education. I can partner traditional rulers and communities as well as institutions, not political parties,” he said.
The REC assured that INEC would strive to conduct a free and fair election in the state. He said that INEC was ready to work in partnership with members of the NUJ in the state.
According to him, the election is critical because “the whole world is watching to see a standard that will be set by INEC in Anambra State.”
He said further that INEC trained 320 staff, 551 corps members and hired 30 teachers for the voter continuous registration exercise.
The REC decried the low turnout for the registration exercise but admitted that ICT failed them initially. He said, however, that they later re-energised and bought over 400 generators and brought ICT experts from Abuja to complete the assignment as anticipated.
“We had enough funds, mobility and this is the most comprehensive exercise we had. It ended last Sunday. The next stage is display of voters register but voters cards lost or changed environment should come and apply for a duplicate of their voters’ card. This one will last till October 30,” he said.
Mr. Onukaogu said that the commission had set up an inter-agency consultative committee, comprising security heads in the state for synergy on the best way to check insecurity during and after the election.
In her speech, Ifeoma Anumba, who led the NUJ delegation, informed INEC that the union came to know how prepared it was for the governorship election.
She assured that journalists in the state would partner with INEC to ensure free and fair polls that would generally be accepted to be credible.
Mrs. Anumba said, however, that this could only be possible “if the journalists are briefed on daily developments.”