By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Southeast caucus of the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC) has raised the alarm over possible disenfranchisement of huge number of prospective young voters in the Southeast zone following the shoddy manner the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise was being implemented.
Speaking with THISDAY in Umuahia the chairman of IPAC, Southeast caucus, Chief Emeka Okafor said that the Council was not satisfied at the level of logistics put in place by INEC to capture the expected number of young persons who have come of age of voting.
He said that having gone round the registration centres with his team IPAC had observed that a huge number of prospective voters were losing interest in the registration exercise after being subjected to wait endlessly for hours without being captured in the voters register.
The IPAC chairman said that the very slow pace of the registration exercise made the prospective young voters to get frustrated and abandon the idea of obtaining voter’s card hence the urgent need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make the exercise less cumbersome.
“INEC should ensure that young persons who have attained the required age for voting are given the opportunity to register to participate in future elections,” he said.
The IPAC chairman stated that it has become most pertinent for INEC to take urgent action now and remove the logjam in the registration exercise, especially in Anambra State where governorship election would hold in a few months’ time.
“People are not really happy at the slow pace of registering of voters in all the states of the Southeast,” he said, adding that “INEC must do something to ensure that all eligible voters are captured.”
Chief Okafor noted that the national electoral body should have shown more seriousness in the continuous voter registration by decentralisng the registration centres instead of concentrating them in the local government headquarters and also made more machines available.
He lamented that shoddy jobs arising from inadequate logistics by INEC had in the past resulted in low registration of voters in the Southeast zone thereby reducing their voting population hence the need to correct the anomaly.
The IPAC chairman therefore called on the governors of the Southeast zone to take up the challenge of ensuing that every legible voter was registered, adding that the state chief executives should not only mount intensive mobilization campaign in their respective states but also assist INEC with logistics where necessary to make the registration exercise smooth.
He reminded the governors that without voters there could be no credible poll and democracy would be imperiled hence the need do everything possible to ensure that no eligible voter was denied the opportunity to be added to the nation’s voting population.