The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that 463,186 people would be barred from voting in the September 22 governorship election in Osun State if they fail to claim their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
This was disclosed by the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, in Osogbo, the state capital yesterday during a one-day sensitisation forum for media executives and reporters on the conduct of Osun governorship poll.
Agbaje who was represented by the Head of Voters Education Department of INEC in Osun State, Mr. Steven Ojewande, also revealed that 1,213,026 had collected their PVCs and would participate in the election.
The REC said that there were a total of 1,682,495 registered voters in the state, noting that all the PVCs that needed to be collected are already in INEC offices across the 30 local government areas of the state.
He assured that the commission would use Osun gubernatorial election to show the ability of the electoral umpire to organise free, credible and acceptable elections and solicited for media support and assistance in informing, sensitising and educating the people on the need to collect their PVCs at the INEC offices in their local government areas.
The REC said the commission is 80 per cent ready for the governorship election and therefore urged the participating political parties to caution their candidates against heating up the polity.
He said INEC had carried out comprehensive voter education throughout the state, trained security agents and upgraded smart card readers for effectiveness, adding that the commission had equally met with election stakeholders in the state, including the political parties.
The REC also disclosed that the soft copies of the register of voters had been distributed to the chairmen of all the 48 political parties that fielded candidates for the governorship election.
He said the final list of the candidates and their deputies had also been published while the supervisory, presiding, and other poll officers had been trained.
The commission also noted that the Osun gubernatorial election would be used to send a very strong message to vote buyers and sellers and as well as other perpetrators of criminal acts.
Also speaking at the event, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission recognised the media as a critical stakeholder in the electioneering process.
He said the media is taken as a critical partner and therefore called for balanced and objective coverage of the governorship poll. He also advised the media to be careful in reporting conflicts, adding that the INEC office in the state is open for clarifications and questions on the exercise.
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