INEC Likely to Disenfranchise Many Nigerians, Gbong Gwom Cries Out

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

The Chairman of Plateau State Traditional Council and Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Gyang Buba, has faulted the voting arrangement put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the general elections.

The traditional ruler yesterday raised the alarm that if the current arrangement is not modified by INEC to allow voters with authentic Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to vote, it will disenfranchise many Nigerians.

The Gbong Gwom spoke in Jos when members of INEC led by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Halilu Pai, paid him a courtesy call at his palace.

The Commission had told the royal father that any voter with PVC whose name is not found on the voters’ register would not be allowed to vote.

Pai said: “We are not saying that it is the fault of the voter. On the day of election, the electoral officers will simply take note of those with PVCs but whose names are not contained in the voters register and the Commission will include their names, but they will not be allowed to vote during the forthcoming poll.”

Responding, the Gbong Gwom Jos faulted the position of the electoral body, describing it as a plot by the commission to disenfranchise eligible voters in the country.

“We have been told by INEC that it has sorted out its voters register, including the issue of under-age voters and names of deceased persons. If it is true that the electoral body has cleared its register of abnormalities, how come the name of a voter with a genuine PVC will not be found on the voters register? Who issued the PVC to him? Is it his fault that his name is missing on the register? To expunge the names of under-age voters and to include the name of a registered voter, which one is more difficult to do? I think if INEC is looking for a way to disenfranchise eligible voters in Nigeria, an arrangement that will not allow an eligible voter with genuine PVC to cast his ballot for no fault of his is certainly one of them.”

While calling on the Commission to reconsider its position on the matter, the Gbong Gwom Jos also appealed to INEC to take special interest on those whose properties, including their PVCs were destroyed as a result of the crisis in the communities and provide them with Temporary Voters Cards to enable them vote during the elections

He also appealed to the citizens of the state and Nigerians to exercise caution during the poll so as not to do anything that could jeopardise the peace of the state and the country.