By Ola Ajayi & Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, yesterday, announced that residents of Ogun State would get their Permanent Voters Cards, PVC, by September.
The INEC however, blamed politicians in the country for making it difficult for the commission to conduct free and fair elections, saying the Professor Attahiru Jega-led commission was ready to give Nigerians free and fair elections.
Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Ogun States, Sam Olumekun spoke in Abeokuta, at the stakeholders’ forum on governance, peace and political stability organised by Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, Ogun State.
Olumekun, while speaking on “towards a free, fair and credible 2015 general elections in Nigeria”, said the commission had injected new innovations with a view to conducting credible elections.
According to the state REC, no political party could clone the Permanent Voters Cards.
He said “the INEC has injected new innovation, we have moved from temporary voters’ cards in 2011 to the level of issuing Permanent Voters Cards. Where we are now is second face. In the third face, it will be Ogun state turn which will commence next month. The second face will end this August.
“Permanent Voters Card is a smart card with certain features. It stores voters’ data like bio metric and facial feature, it cannot be counterfeited. Anyone without PVC would not vote in 2015″.
In his remarks, national President of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Sunny Enenuvwedia said the INEC should be independent of the Federal Government.
Enenuvwedia, however, said he doubted the capacity of the INEC to conduct free and credible elections in 2015 because of the number of the states involved.
Meanwhile, as the distribution of the permanent voter card begins in Oyo State, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Oyo State, Mr. Olayinka Oladimeji, has advised eligible voters in the state to ensure they collect their cards.
Oladimeji, who is contesting election for the Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency in 2015, said the call became necessary in view of the importance of the card.
The one-time Personal Assistant in the office of Speaker of House of Representatives under Dimeji Bankole, also called on those who have attained 18 years of age after the last registration exercise to take advantage of this new opportunity to register in order to qualify to vote for candidates of their choice in the February 2015 elections.
As the elections approached, he also advised the voters to vote for candidates with good pedigree, enviable antecedents and personal achievements.
The House of Reps hopeful noted that given the new paradigm in the politics of Nigeria, and the current level of political awareness among the people, he was sure that the people of Akinyele, Lagelu and Nigerians in general will not vote for politicians with shady character, questionable past and well known criminal records that have put such people on the wrong side of the law.
Segelu, who is an aide to Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman further expressed confidence that the people of his constituency know all the aspirants, including those who have very bad criminal records and will never vote for such politicians who are only seeking political power to shield themselves from public scrutiny.