The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday shed more light on why some states were recording low turnout for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards since the commencement of the exercise.
The commission also stated that out of the 93,469,008 registered voters for the 2023 general election, women voters constituted 44,414846 or 48 per cent, while men constituted 49,054162 or 52 per cent.
The youths (18-35) constituted 37,060,399 or 40 per cent.
According to the commission, most of the states with low PVCs collection rates were states where off-season governorship elections were conducted.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman (Outreach and Partnership Committee), Prof. Kunle Ajayi, stated this in an interview with journalists during the commission’s dialogue with Nigerian Women Groups and Candidates, organized by the International Foundation for Electoral Support with the theme, “2023 general elections: Women’s participation in PVC collection and election day processes”.
He said that apathy towards the collection of the PVCs were only noticeable in states where off-season governorship election took place including Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun States.
Ajayi said a reasonable number of registered voters residing in the listed states had collected their PVCs before the governorship elections were conducted.
The INEC National Commissioner also blamed the ‘culture’ for last-minute rush for the current situation.
He said, “I was in Ekiti state during the Christmas period to monitor collection of people and observed that there was a low turnout and I immediately called the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of Ekiti state. He told me what actually happened. You know in Ekiti, we have had an election in 2022 and most people have collected their PVCs before that election.
“So many people , the same thing in Osun State. We had an election in 2022 and the majority of people too have collected their PVCs. The same thing will happen in Anambra because they also had their governorship election in November 2021. Then again, Nigerians have this culture. We always wait to the last minute before we respond to issues in anything we do.
“During the Continuous Voter Registration exercise, we appealed to people to come out; they didn’t until the last week, then we had this huge turnout. They started blaming INEC. We have a terrible culture of not coming out and that is why we have started advocating and appealing to everybody not to wait until the last minute.
“However, we envisage that people will still not come out until the last minute and that was why we were proactive in our actions and took a decision that we need to extend the deadline by one week. We are expecting a huge crowd in the last week and we will be able to manage it”.
Speaking on women’s participation in PVC collection and voting, he disclosed that out of the 93,469,008 registered voters for the 2023 general election, women voters constitute 44,414846 or 48 per cent, while the men constitute 49,054162 or 52 percent and the youths (18-35) constitute 37,060,399 or 40 per cent.
By implication, he described Nigerian women as a major power block and a voting force to contend with in the forthcoming general elections.
The INEC commissioner, however, stressed the need for women to translate the data into actual reality and voting force, maintaining that women need to rise above all socioeconomic and political factors militating against them.
“This indeed is a herculean task. But with the power of your PVCs and the opportunity of the coming elections, there Is an avenue for women to change the narrative, speak with a united voice and grasp the mantle of leadership in their favour. It is my belief that the Nigerian women have so much to contribute to the socio-political and economic landscape of Nigeria, that they simply have to hold their rightful position at the helms of affairs of our great country”, he added.
The acting Director (Gender and Inclusivity Department) in INEC, Lakunuya Bello, expressed the commission’s commitment to ensure that the nation’s political landscape will continue to provide a level playing field for the participation of all citizens in the electoral process irrespective of gender.
While expressing concern that insecurity and culture in some parts of the country might contribute to voter apathy, she observed that INEC had put in place measures that would ensure that women are not disenfranchised on election day.
She said, “INEC had identified that where culture would not allow women to come out and mingle with men, they should have the priority to have separate queues and women that are not nursing or elderly people should have priority to come to the front and be able to vote. These are some of the things that could be challenging for women to present themselves to come and vote even having their PVC. And again, of there is violence, they will be challenged but INEC is working in collaboration with the security agencies to ensure that there will be no violence.” (Punch)
Tinubu calls for calm on naira notes, fuel scarcity
By Francesca Iwambe, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Candidate, Chief Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to be calm co learning the scarcity of the new naira note.
He asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN not to be “dogmatic” in the deadline fixed for the old Naira notes to stop being legal tender.
In a press statement signed by the APC Presidential Campaign Council Director of Media & Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, Tinubu said, the masses are the ones suffering from the unintended consequence of the CBN demonetisation policy.
While appealing to Nigerians to stay calm, the APC Presidential Candidate further urged citizens to Nigerians to shun all acts that may destabilise the country in the face of the new naira and fuel scarcity that the country is facing.
He commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited for the fuel supply relief being enjoyed in the Federal Capital Territory and urged the company to step up its act to bring relief round the country.
The APC Presidential Candidate promised to unite the country and improve the economy and security if elected.
“This is a challenging period in the life of our country when our people are made to stay on the line for hours to get fuel and even get their own money from the banks.
“I empathise with Nigerians across the country especially the poor masses who have been made to bear the brunt and pains of the CBN Naira policy and fuel scarcity the most.
“While government continues to work to solve these problems, let’s stay calm, maintain the peace and continue to shun and avoid any act capable of causing civil unrest and disharmony.
“What the opposition and enemies of democracy want is to create a state of national siege and tension that can disrupt the coming general elections and create an atmosphere of strife in our country.
“We must say no to them. We must be resolute and stand firm to protect our democracy by ensuring we hold our elections in a peaceful and orderly manner.
“I am in this race to bring renewed hope and prosperity to all Nigerians.
“There are no challenges that will be difficult for us as a people to surmount when we stand in unity of purpose.
“When you elect me, I will work to ensure security, economic prosperity, national unity and cohesion and we will together build a country that will be a source of joy to us all and a pride to every black person everywhere in the world,” Tinubu said.
Politicians enticing LP members with millions, says Utomi
A political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, on Tuesday said that politicians in some political parties were enticing officials of the Labour Party with millions of Naira to facilitate their defection before the presidential election scheduled for February 25.
While blaming politicians for the challenges confronting Nigeria, he said that the country had failed to build real political parties.
Utomi, convener of The Big-Tent, a coalition of political parties, social movements, and civil society organisations, in support of the presidential ambition of Peter Obi, stated these during the unveiling of the Independent Campaign Council Secretariat of TBT.
According to him, Nigerian youths that were tired of the terrible state of the country, discovered Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, adding that the LP would focus on improving the life of ordinary Nigerians, rather than serving the selfish interest of a few powerful elites.
“The focus of power over purpose has led to transactions of nature where people don’t seem to matter.
“As we speak, right now, some of those political parties have been paying millions and millions to Labour Party officials to decamp and join them. But they still forget that what we need is a new Nigeria that our children can live in happily without insecurity,” he stated.
While accusing the All Progressives Congress of lacking ideology, Utomi said the party appeared to have only set out to grab power.
He assured that if elected, Obi would move Nigeria from a consuming nation to producing nation.
Utomi said, “Our country needs to be renewed. It is easy to blame anybody for the problems of Nigeria, but it’s time to forge ahead, look ahead and forget yesterday. The naked truth is that yesterday has been costly, extremely costly.
“The country that was bequeathed to us by our founding fathers was a great country of promise. I am fond of reminding people of 1960.
“Obi talks all the time about going from consumption to production. But we started in 1960 with production.
“I like to remind people all the time that our founding fathers looked at their endowments and realized that the main reason Nigeria was colonized was the extraction of raw materials to move to Europe. But the colonialists did not bother or try at all to industrialise Nigeria.
“Indeed, at the time of self-government, there were technically two factories in Nigeria.
“However, the pace with which the young men and women who began to take charge in 1956/57 and the speed with which they moved us to production was unbelievable. I believe we can still achieve the same form of transition.
“Central to the challenge of development that we have is our failure to build real political parties. I believe, that was the beginning of the founding of the APC.
“In the founding of the APC, they focused on grabbing power over purpose which prevented a real political party from emerging and we’ve seen the damages that’s done to Nigeria.”
Nobody Will Get Buhari’s 1.9m Kano Votes Of 2015 – LP’s Baba-Ahmed
The vice-presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Datti Baba-Ahmed, has said the over 1.9 million votes President Muhammadu Buhari got in Kano State during the 2015 presidential election will not be won by any one candidate in the forthcoming election.
With 1,903,999 votes, Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated the Peoples Democratic Party’s Goodluck Jonathan who had 215,779 votes in the North’s most populous state.
“The northern Nigerian votes that were waiting to make up the difference which either of the two other runners-up were hoping to get, [it] turned out that they are not getting it,” Baba-Ahmed said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s special election programme The 2023 Verdict on Tuesday.
“The heavy punchers – Kano, for example – is now a watershed of what its votes used to be. In 2015, the 1.9 million votes of Kano, nobody can aspire to have that which of course Buhari punched Jonathan with the final blow. Nobody is going to get that in Kano.”
The LP vice presidential candidate argued that other battle zones in the North are Kaduna and Katsina.
Other factors he believed were working in his party’s favour include the rise of the youth in his home state of Kaduna, the increasing awareness of uniting Nigeria, and the non-indigenes all over Northern and Central Kaduna.
“We have pulled a lot of weight beyond the comprehension of the two runners-up,” he added.
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