From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called for collaboration between stakeholders in Nasarawa State, in order to achieve a free, fair and credible elections, come 2023.
INEC also called on residents of the state to collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), in order to vote credible leaders during the forthcoming general elections.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of INEC in the state, Dr Uthman Ajidagba made the call on Thursday at a stakeholders meeting on PVCs and 2023 general elections held in Lafia.
According to him, it was important for eligible voters to collect their PVCs as only those with their PVCs will be allowed to vote during the elections, saying that INEC has earmarked 6th -15th of January for collection at Registration Areas (RAs) after which the PVCs would be returned to Area Offices from between 15th to 22nd January, 2023 for collection.
He said that the commission was determined to improving on the electoral system towards the conduct of a fair, credible and inclusive elections, hence the introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for electronic transmission of results.
“It is my honour and privilege to inform you that because the commission is determined to ensure every Nigerian exercises his civic responsibility on election day, all the newly established Polling Units are been allocated voters with a view to decongesting the areas with very large number of registered voters to areas with relatively low registered voters.
“Once the exercise is perfected and approved by the commission, affected migrated voters will be informed accordingly,” Ajidagba said.
He, urged political actors to play by the rules of the game, calling on the people to be vigilant by policing themselves and the society, in order to avert any breach of security in the country, especially the ongoing attacks on INEC critical facilities across the country.
He, also called on stakeholders to continue to engage with electorates with good, palatable and encouraging campaign messages and not to overheat the polity or cause chaos in the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Maiyaki Baba, represented by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Suleiman Saleh said the Inter-Agency Election Security Committee in the state has been inaugurated and was engaging stakeholders in evolving strategies to mitigate threats to the 2023 general elections.
Baba noted that political violence, hate speech, threats, political intolerance and misinformation were some of the major threats to democracy and national security.
He assured that the security agencies will continue to work in synergy to address threats of political violence and ensure prosecution of violators of electoral laws during and after the election.
On his part, the Emir of Lafia and Chairman Nasarawa state Traditional Council of Chiefs, Justice Sidi Bage (Rtd) reassured of the commitment of traditional rulers to ensuring adequate sensitisation of their subjects on the collection of PVCs.
“As traditional rulers, we have been part of electioneering process and INEC has been sensitising us with what is expected of us as fathers of the land to ensure credible elections.
“Each Friday, we sensitise our title holders on the need for the people to collect their PVCs to enable them vote during the 2023 general elections,” he said.
He commended INEC and the REC in the state for the work they have been doing and pledged the cooperation of traditional institutions to ensure free, fair and credible elections come 2023.