By Olawale Jokotoye
Abeokuta – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ogun on Tuesday held a stakeholders’ forum to sensitize the residents on the Voters Registration exercise scheduled to commence nationwide on Thursday.
INEC Administrative Secretary in the state, Mr Kayode Oladimeji, said at the forum in Abeokuta that the exercise would hold in all the 20 local government areas in the state.
He said that the exercise, which would hold between 9a.m and 3 p.m on working days, would last “till a few days to the 2019 general elections”.
Oladimeji said distribution of already printed permanent voter cards would be carried out simultaneously during the period.
According to him, only people who have attained the age of 18 and who have not yet registered, as well as those who had earlier registered but whose names are missing on the register of voters, are eligible to register.
“Let me emphasise that those who have earlier registered should not go to register again, as it will amount to double registration which is punishable under the law and may lead to deletion of names of the affected people.
“Please note that INEC has developed a software capable of detecting such multiple registration.
“Those who are eligible to register should simply visit and present themselves at the registration centres, as there will be no registration by proxy,” he said.
Oladimeji stressed the need for participation in the exercise, reiterating that only people who registered would be allowed to vote.
The INEC official said that the commission had made arrangements to enable people who might have changed their residences before the election to vote.
He said the commission was ready for the exercise in the state, having taken delivery of all needed materials and also configured the machines that would be used.
Oladimeji said the commission had also trained its staff for the exercise.
The INEC official,therefore, solicited for the cooperation of the public, particularly party leaders, asking them to mobilise their members for the exercise.
Representatives of the various political parties present at the forum pledged to partner the commission to ensure the success of the exercise.
They, however, urged INEC to be impartial and shun any act that could cast doubts in the hearts of members of the public concerning its independence.
The state Chairman for the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Yinka Folarin, urged INEC to be transparent in the conduct of the exercise.
He also called on the commission to step up measures at publicising the exercise to avoid disenfranchising eligible voters.