In order to forestall vote-buying in the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said that it is looking forward to improving the country’s voting system.
Prof. Mahood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC said yesterday this in Abuja on when some Civil Society Organisations led by popular artiste, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy, visited the headquarters of the commission.
“First, we must look into the administration of our polling unit, particularly the place where we place the voting cubicle where the citizens vote and the place where we keep the ballot box. Remember the law says it is an open secret system.
“You vote in the cubicle but have to drop the ballot in the open. So, we learnt from experience from previous elections like Edo, Anambra but it wasn’t as pronounced in Ondo. However, we had complaints in Ekiti. As we move to other elections, we will see what we can do in that respect.”
The chairman affirmed the decision of INEC to stop voter registration on August 17; adding that nearly eight million Permanent Voter Cards had remained uncollected since 2015 while about 11 million new persons had been registered.
“From the 2015 elections, we have about seven million cards uncollected and by the time you add 11.8 million so far to the seven million, you will end up with close to 20 million cards uncollected. So, we will have to suspend the registration at a point, make the cards available and work with groups to ensure that citizens collect their cards before the 2019 elections.”, Yakuba said.
In his remarks, a Presidential aspirant and convener, Take it back movement, Omoyele Sowore, urged the electoral umpire to extend the registration of voters to the middle of December.
Similarly, Ralph Adebayo, the National Secretary, Our Mumu Don Do coalition, added that there was an urgent need for INEC to stop sharp practice perpetrated by its officials at registration centres.
He said his group had spent close to N100, 000 on the registration exercise.