Ekiti electoral body bars women in purdah from voting in LG polls

Election, voters
Voters used to illustrate the story

The Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission has said women in purdah will not be able to vote in the local government elections on Saturday because facial identification would be necessary to accredit voters.

The chairman of the commission, Kayode Bamisile, said on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti that barring those in purdah from voting became imperative because card readers would not be used for the elections.

According to him, the only means of identification would be through the Permanent Voter Cards and facial outlook.

“You cannot vote when we are not seeing your face. We have said we are not using card readers and you have to be identified facially before you can vote in these elections,” Mr. Bamisile said.

“We don’t want to conduct inconclusive elections, so the commission will not deploy card readers because that may slow down the pace of voting.”

He disclosed that there would be restriction of movement between the hours of 8am and 4pm on Saturday, adding that government officials would not be allowed to move about except at their polling units.

Mr. Bamisile also noted that 7,000 ad hoc staff, comprising youth corps members and unemployed graduates would be deployed as presiding officers in all the 2,195 polling units where the elections would take place.

He said five out of 24 political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party, KOWA, African People Alliance, United Peoples Party and Peoples Party of Nigeria, would be participating in the polls.

The All Progressives Congress had earlier boycotted the elections and had challenged the composition of the SIEC in the state High Court. The suit was however struck out on Monday.

Mr. Bamisile assured that measures would be in place to check underage voting.

The SIEC boss said the body had taken delivery of non-sensitive materials and that the sensitive materials would arrive on Thursday for delivery and distribution in the presence of representatives of political parties.

“We are assuring that we will do our best not to fail Ekiti people. We are not going to be biased. The accreditation will take place between 8am and 12 noon, while voting will be between 12pm and 4pm,” he said.

He also said the elections would be monitored by accredited observers from the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria Union of journalists, Association of Women Christians and other non-governmental organizations.

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