Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has assured that next year’s general elections budget would be concluded next week.Yakubu also expressed dissatisfaction over underage voting at the just-concluded council poll in Kano State, saying the commission would look into the matter and that anyone found guilty would be probed.
Speaking yesterday at a workshop on “Election Project Plan Implementation,” which held in Victoria Island, Lagos, the INEC chairman stated: “Recent reports of violations by under-aged persons following the local government elections in Kano State is deeply disturbing. “It is true that the State Independent Electoral Commission had requested INEC for a copy of the voter register.
“I can confirm also that a soft copy of the register was made available to the State. The voter register in Kano State is the one used for the 2015 general election. “In July 2016, INEC used the same register to conduct a state Assembly by-election in Minjibir Constituency, which has 78,210 registered voters spread across 126 polling units clustered in 11 Registration Areas (Wards). In that election conducted by INEC, no single incidence of under-aged voter was recorded.
He stated that the commission will share the findings of the investigation with Nigerians, saying: “I wish to assure Nigerians that going forward, we will interrogate the voter register nationwide in order to purge it of any possible ineligible registrants.Yakubu also disclosed that about 3,978,682 fresh candidates have registered in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) between July to December last year, adding that 135,127 unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were collected within the same period.
He assured that all eligible Nigerians who present themselves for registration as voters would be registered and issued their PVCs ahead of next year’s general elections.
With regard to the commission’s position on the sequence of elections contained in the Bill recently passed by the senate, Yakubu posited that the current timetable and schedule of activities released on January 9, this year, was consistent with the powers of the commission under existing laws.-Guardian