Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
An unprecedented huge turn out of prospective voters yesterday overwhelmed few numbers of registration officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) at all the 177 wards in Ekiti State.
Hundreds of prospective voters were not covered by few INEC officials who attended in twos or threes to many residents of the state in each of the wards.
The few number of the officials and machines could not cover the registration of the huge crowd that kept pouring into the wards, leading to agitation for extension of registration days by the electorate and observers.
Comrade Kalu Victor of the African Initiative, one of the INEC accredited observers in the state, lamented that the huge turn out of electorates is a strong reason for an extension and urged INEC to consider an extension of two days preferably for the next weekend.
” I am surprised at the huge turn out at the ward level. We experienced a low turn out at the local government level but It is now more closer to them and I think that is why the turn out has been very impressive.
Since it commenced at the ward level on April 11, and to this day, we are amazed at the huge turn out.
” Our pain and concern is that in a centre like this,/Saint Michael Primary School in Ajilosun in Ado Ekiti Local Government Area we still have over 1000 or 500 people coming for registration while only 200 ended up being registered.
” This is also so in other local government areas like Ikere, in Saint John Primary School there, many people are struggling with INEC officials demanding that they register them. In Moba Local government and Iyin local Government even go to the Saint Patrick Nursery and Primary school close to us here, there are still many more who wants to register but have not been able to do so.
” This is why we are expecting that it would be very helpful if the exercise extended at least for two days by INEC and more personnel should be added to those in each centre.
All the places we have been to, the people yearn for an extension of the registration.
You also know that every states now wants to increase the registration of their people to boost the number in the state.
We know that INEC is trying to ensure that they would be able to cater for the ones already registered, print their cards on time and all that, but if we consider the reality on ground where so many people are coming out to register one would recommend that the INEC should give two days extension and it should be during the weekend so many people would have the opportunity to come.
The first two following days should be used for more mobilisation and sensitisation.
” The sensitization exercise for this registration was very low. However, we also commend the efforts of the government and party officials who have worked very well in mobilising their people for the registration.
We also want to advise the people who have registered before not to return to the centres for double registration and constitute unnecessary crowd there, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Chief Ayodele Fayose, has said prospective voters who could not be registered during the just-concluded voters registration exercise at ward level would be conveyed to the local government offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do so by the state government
He stated this in Ado-Ekiti on Monday while monitoring the six-day continuous voters registration exercise at ward level that ended, on Monday.
Fayose, who visited Ward Eleven registration point at St Thomas Primary School, Irona, Ado-Ekiti, Ward Four registration point at St Michael’s Primary School, Ajilosun, Ado-Ekiti among others, expressed unhappiness with the high number of people yet to be registered.
At Ward Eleven registration point, the Registration Officer, Mr Ajayi Oluwasola, said the number of people they could register was limited compared to the turnout.
At Ward Four registration point, the INEC officials there said the battery of their machine was down and that some people were harassing them.
Fayose subsequently ordered that a generator be purchased to help provide power.
“We just have to do something about the situation we have on hand now. If these people are not able to register, they may not do so until the next four years. We have always been telling our people to register as it is their civic duty.
” We had requested that INEC should extend the exercise but since they won’t do that, we have to assist our people in order that they won’t miss this opportunity. People should be registered not only for election purposes, but data gathered is also used for other things,” he said.