By Jeremiah

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said yesterday that over 7.8 million Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) are yet to be collected.

INEC chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this at the maiden quarterly consultative meeting with the media in Abuja, appealed to those yet to collect their PVCs to visit their local government areas to collect their cards.

He also announced that the Continuous Voters Registration will start in April ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The chairman and the media executives at the meeting expressed concern over the absence of Resident Electoral Commissioners in 33 states and urged the federal government to urgently fill the vacancies.

Earlier, Yakubu revealed that the commission will conduct 1,560 elections in 2019, noting that over 700,000 PVCs have so far been distributed.

He stated that there was need to clean up the Voter Register, especially eliminating names of dead voters.

Speaking on the early release of the 2019 dates for presidential, governorship and National Assembly polls, Yakubu reiterated that it was aimed at stopping fire brigade approach to elections.

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INEC had declared that the 2019 presidential and federal legislative elections would hold on February 16 and noted that the early release of the time table would ensure predictability and certainty in elections.

“The 2023 elections would hold on the 18 of February for Presidential and National Assembly and 4th of March for governorship and state houses of assembly.

“In 2027, it’s 20th February and 6th March. In 2031, it’s 15th February and 1st March. In 2035, it’s 17th February and 3rd March,” he said.

The chairman also said that as far as political parties campaign finances were concerned, all political parties were in default of the regulations surrounding their conduct.

He stated that the commission has so far conducted 167 elections, arising from court orders, end of tenure polls and bye elections.

Yakubu said 87 political associations have so far applied for registration as political parties, stressing that there were already registered political parties on the ground.

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The chairman said INEC would announce a new strategic plan, following the expiration of the previous one in 2016, noting that it would soon be presented to stakeholders for validation.

The national chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists Waheed Odusile commended the commission for the initiative and called for timely release of election results.

He also urged the electoral body to provide all necessary information to the media to enable it perform it’s duties as the watch dog of the society.

Source:: Leadership News

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