By O’Star Eze
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a recent surge in number of registered voters in Anambra state has seen the number of registered voters in the state rise to 2.5 million from 1.7 million.
Mr Ndubisi Nwokeabia, INEC’s chief orientation and mobilisation officer who made the disclosure during the flag off of campaign against invalid/void votes held recently at Onitsha South local government area Headquarters, said the increase signaled tremendous improvements in the political fortunes of the state.
Addressing stakeholders and representatives of various unions, associations and relevant bodies, he attributed the improvements to the hard work of the state government, who he said has not left any stones unturned in developing and creating political awareness at the grassroots.
Mr Nwokeabia noted that the challenges of invalid and void votes during election require proper education and critical information, which he said would prepare the electorate to participate fully in the upcoming election.
He said that the cause of invalid/void vote include inadequate voter education by political parties, which resulted in massive and irredeemable waste of votes.
Mr Ogunsheye Olayinka, Onitsha South independent electoral commission (INEC) electoral officer, said that the turnout of people who came to collect their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) at the Ward to Ward exercise was encouraging.
Olayinka identified the challenges they encounter as double registration, defaced cards and omission of names. He quickly added that nevertheless, INEC was ready and well equipped to conduct credible election in the state.
Mr Olayinka, however, urged political parties to reach out to electorate at ward level to educate them on how to vote properly in order to avoid invalid/void votes. He also advised them to avoid thuggery and things that would jeopardise free and fair election.
Mr Emeka Asoanya, Onitsha South lga chairman, urged candidates of various political parties to embark on issue based campaign rather than name calling and hate speech. Mr Ifeanyi Charles Ifeadi, the council secretary, reminded eligible voters of the need to safe guard their permanent voters’ card.
“This is the weapon that you can use in bringing a God fearing and credible leadership.’’
He warned against vote buying and selling as he promised more sensitisation and voter education in the council area. One of the participants, Mr Tochukwu Onyedibe expressed displeasure at the disfranchisement of some electorates who could not locate their PVC by INEC, urging the electoral officer to help in such matters.