The Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, have appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the continuous voters’ exercise which ended in the state yesterday to enable all willing eligible voters to exercise their franchise.
Mimiko, who was on inspection tour of the exercise in wards 1,3,7, 8,10 and 11 in Ondo, the headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of the yesterday in company of a member representing Ondo East/West in the House of Representatives, Hon, Joseph Akinlaja, noted that the number of enthusiastic eligible voters might not be captured within the five days stipulated time for the exercise which elapsed yesterday.
He submitted that if INEC wanted to fulfill its ultimate aim of allowing every eligible Nigerian to exercise his or her franchise, the electoral body must extend the time of the exercise. The governor expressed happiness at the large turnout of people in all the areas visited, stressing that the impressive turnout portrayed the enthusiasm of Nigerians to perform their responsibilities in spite of the current challenges facing the nation.
“You can see that today being the last day of the exercise, see the number of people still waiting at everywhere I have been to, it’s the same story of many young men and women waiting to register to vote.
“I feel very glad and that shows that in spite of our challenges, there is something good about our democracy that our people are still enthusiastic about. There is no question about the fact that there are many of those who are willing to get registered that will not be accommodated within this time frame.
“So we will continue to plead with INEC to appreciate the fact that extension is very essential. The ultimate aim of INEC is to ensure that every Nigerian that is willing to vote should be given the opportunity,” the governor stressed.
On his part, Akeredolu said his for extension of the exercise is to ensure that people are not disenfranchised.
In a statement by his media office, Akeredolu said he had received many complaints about the exercise, adding that a number of technical itches had been reported since the commencement of the exercise five days ago.
He said the exercise “has been fraught with challenges ranging from inadequate materials to the malfunctioning of computers.
“We have a situation where people spend hours on the queues and still don’t get registered. It is wise to extend the exercise beyond the stipulated days in order not to disenfranchise many eligible voters in Ondo State.”
INEC had commenced the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in Ondo and Edo States on June 22, 2016. The exercise was scheduled to end yesterday, June 26, 2016.
The five-day exercise was expected to provide an opportunity for the eligible voters in the states to register, preparatory to the forthcoming governorship elections in the two states.
According to INEC, those that the exercise would capture include: “Those who were eligible but did not register before the 2015 general election; those who are eligible but whose names are not in the register of voters; and those who have attained the age of 18 since the last voter registration exercise.”