Ar a pre-event dinner organised by the European Union (EU), before today’s Youth Vote Count 2.0 mega concert holding at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured that the Commission will not cause the disenchantment of Nigerians who are willing to register as voters in the current Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
The European Union is the lead facilitator of the initiative, in collaboration with INEC and YIAGA Africa.
What the INEC Chairman is saying:
Yakubu debunked the rumour that the Commission was deliberately preventing registrants from a particular region from registering in the current exercise.
On extension of registration deadline:
We are concerned like all Nigerians. We are appreciative of the fact that young people and Nigerians generally are trooping out in large numbers to register. For us, it’s a measure of confidence that people have in the system and that is why they are coming out to register. We’ll never let young people of Nigeria down. Whatever it takes, we will ensure that those who are seeking to register have the opportunity to do so.Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
The Chairman said the immediate need was equipment and additional centres.
“So, in addition to what we did earlier, the commission has approved 209 additional machines to be deployed to ease the pressure nationwide. And we identified three areas of pressure based on the discussion we had: the entire southeast region; the big apple – Lagos, and Kano. There is also pressure coming from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). We’ll continue to respond to the pressure.
“For the purpose of this concert, the Commission deployed 30 additional machines to Lagos, which they used for the CVR exercise since Monday (June 6). These machines are not going back to Abuja. They will remain in Lagos to respond to the pressure.”
Prof. Yakubu urged the music stars to take advantage of their large followership to encourage young people to register, collect their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and vote on election day.
“Messaging is very important, and you are the masters and mistresses of messaging. When you say one thing, a million people will listen to you. But I would have to say the same thing a thousand times before I get 10 people to listen to me.
“There are three messages I want you to emphasise: encourage young people to register, but that is only the first step. The second step is that, when they register, they have to collect their PVCs, because registering is one thing, collecting the PVC is another. You can’t go to the polling unit on election day and say – here I come INEC, I’ve registered. You won’t vote until you’re in possession of your PVC. Then, they should use the PVCs, come out and vote on election day. The message consistently is: vote, not fight. Register, collect your PVCs and vote. They have a friend in INEC.”
Prof. Yakubu also debunked another rumour that the PVCs will expire. He affirmed that the PVCs have no expire date.
The best way to protect the sanctity of the ballot is what happens at the polling unit. There are no collation centres where ballot boxes are taken to. The ballot boxes are emptied, sorted out, the votes are counted, recorded on a result sheet, and then uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV)Prof Mahmood Yakubu
He adds: “I’ll like to advise all of you to register on the IReV portal (https://www.inecelectionresults.ng). On election day, when voting ends at the polling unit, the results are immediately uploaded to the portal once the processes are completed. We are the first and so far, the only election management body in Africa that does so. We started it in August 2010 with the Nasarawa Constituency bye-election. So, it is possible for you to see the result of your polling unit on election day. And since we started, I keep asking: is there any discrepancy between the result uploaded to the IReV and the results given to polling agents at the polling units? I haven’t heard of any. So, be rest assured that we will protect the sanctity of the ballot, first at the most important level, which is the polling unit, and subsequently the results that are collated at the different levels.”
Celebrities at the dinner include: Tu Face Idibia, Waje, Mr Macaronic, Small Doctor, Falz, Warri Pikin, Omawunmi, Skiibii, Broda Shaggi and Uti Nwachukwu among others.
In addition, remember there are offices on state and federal levels besides the presidency including:
- State House of Assembly
- Federal House of Representative