INEC registers 36,000 voters in Abia

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered 36,000 eligible voters during the second quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) in Abia, an official has said.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Dr. Joseph Iloh, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia on Friday.

Iloh said that he was dissatisfied with the figure, saying that the result meant that the commission had a lot of work to do in the state.

“With this figure, it means we have a lot of work to do. We must have to gear up if we must meet our target,” he said.

He said that the target was to register at least two million eligible voters during the CVR in Abia.

He said that so far, the commission has registered 63,563 eligible voters with 27,285 registered in the first quarter of the exercise.

He further said that as at Oct. 17, the unclaimed permanent voter cards (PVC) stood at 145,349.

He said that while Aba South had the highest number of unclaimed PVC’s, totalling 63,353, Obingwa had the least, totalling 320.

The REC regretted that the CVR in Abia was affected by apathy among the people and difficult terrain, occasioned by erosion.

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He said, “Apathy is a major factor here. Some of the young people have lost confidence in the system due to poverty and unemployment.”

Iloh said that because of the difficult terrain, many eligible voters in rural communities found it difficult to travel to the registration centres at the council headquarter.

“The poor state of roads hampers free movement of people from one community to another, especially during the rainy season,” he said.

According to him, some people from Arochukwu and Ikwuano Local Government Areas, who live close to Akwa Ibom, pay heavily to get to their council headquarters.

The REC said that in order to check apathy, the commission initiated town hall meetings for confidence building and to educate the people on the far-reaching benefits of voter registration.

He said that the meeting, which would be organised in the 17 local government areas (LGAs), had already taken place in Obingwa, Isialangwa North and Isialangwa South.

He said that although the meeting recorded impressive turnout, the target audience, especially the major political leaders in areas, did not attend.

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Iloh said that the commission would carry the advocacy to all councillors, state house of assembly and also pay a courtesy visit on Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu.

He said that the commission would appeal to the governor to declare one-day public holiday to enable workers in the state get captured and registered for voters.

Iloh appealed to government functionaries, political leaders, traditional rulers, non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, community leaders and religious bodies “to complement our efforts in voter education, sensitisation and confidence building.”

He expressed the hope that with the level of voter education and enlightenment by the commission, the third quarter of the exercise would record great turnout.

He said, “The third quarter of the CVR begins on Monday and the commission expects a surge from the people because of the intensive voter education and confidence building advocacy we have done.”

The REC gave assurance that, “in 2019, every vote must count in Abia.

“Our advocacy is for people to realise that the voter is king,” Iloh said.

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