By CHIOMA ONUEGBU
UPENEKANG—WITH less than one year to the next general elections in the country, the Akwa Ibom State Government has, through the local government areas intensified sensitisation of the rural people on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise across the state.
The sensitisation campaign was flagged off, weekend, at Ibeno Local Government Area of the state by the Ethical and Attitudinal Re-orientation Commission, EARCOM.
Why eligible citizens didn’t vote in last election
Addressing participants, largely women drawn from the 10 wards in Ibeno at Ulok Ulok hall, Upenekang village, EARCOM chair, Dr Dorothy Thompson, pointed out that the awareness/sensitisation campaign became necessary because turn out of voters during the December 2017 Local Government poll was not impressive.
She, however, attributed the situation to failure of many eligible citizens to register in the Voter Registration exercise as well as failure of registered ones to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs.
Thompson, therefore, urged those yet to register to use the opportunity of the CVR exercise provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to register before the exercise wound up.
Speaking, Ibeno Council Chair, Mr. Ifum Henry Udoh, said he was particularly impressed by the enlightenment effort, saying that the turnout of the people, especially women, showed that they were ready and prepared to participate in the CVR exercise.
Udoh, represented by the leader of the council’s legislature, Mrs. Grace Ekpe, lamented the delay in the CVR exercise caused by non-functional equipment in Ibeno.
According to him, many 18-year-old persons and above might still not be captured in the area at the end of the ongoing phase of the exercise.
“I therefore appeal to EARCOM to impress on INEC the need to send additional and good capture machines to Ibeno to accelerate the exercise because the machines currently in use are faulty”, the council boss added.
INEC ready, no cause for alarm- Igini
However, displaying the modern Direct Data Capture Machines, DDCM, recently distributed to states at the Uyo INEC office last week, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom, Mr. Mike Igini, assured that everybody that has attained 18 years of age and above, would be registered, adding that with the additional equipment, officials would be able to cover everywhere, including those in riverine areas.
“We also know the difficulties that we have been going through and that is why nationwide, we have been asked to do a rotational process to be able to capture as many people as possible.
“With the new equipment we now have, the number of people here today will be easily registered as quickly as possible, everywhere will be covered and nobody will be left out. That is the idea of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise unlike in the previous years when we normally do this exercise within three weeks,” he said.
The INEC Commissioner also assured those who had registered since April 27, 2017 when the CVR exercise began that their PVCs which have been produced, would be released to them as soon as the states get them from Abuja.