72.8m voters set to decided Buhari, Atiku, others’ fate

Out of 84,004,084 registered voters, the total number of permanent voter cards (PVCs) collected stands at 72,775,502, representing 86.63% of the total PVCs collected, the Independent National Electoral Commission () has said. 

The commission also said a total of 11,228,582 PVCs representing 13.37% were uncollected. 

It said: “Out of the number of uncollected PVCs, 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014-2016 registration exercises while 3,410,677are from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise held between April 2017 and August 2018.”

Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu stated this Thursday in Abuja at the 4th daily briefing of media and observers ahead Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections. 

Yakubu, while fielding questions, also ruled out the possibility of resigning his appointment as the nation’s chief electoral officer.

The INEC boss stated that he would conduct the 2019 general elections, saying he remained the chairman of the commission and constitutionally remained the chief electoral commissioner of the nation as well as the returning officer of the presidential

He said: “Well, I see no reason to even contemplate resigning. There is no reason whatsoever to even contemplate resigning. We’ll stay focused as a commission; we’ll do the job that is there for us to do for our country.

“Well, the last time I checked and that is the situation as we speak, I am the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria and constitutionally, the chief electoral commissioner of the Federal Republic and a returning officer for the presidential . So, my status hasn’t changed and I am proceeding on the basis of those powers I draw from the constitution for the position I am privileged to serve for the 2019 general elections.”

Zamfara, Rivers APC

On the commission’s position on Zamfara and Rivers states’ All Progressives Congress candidates, the INEC boss stated that their fate was sealed.

He said the commission depended on the Supreme Court ruling on Rivers as well as its interpretation of the judgement of the two courts of coordinate jurisdiction on Zamfara state. 

“The position of the commission on Zamfara and Rivers still remains their position before now that the parties in question by court order and by our understanding and interpretation of judgements of two courts of coordinate jurisdiction delivered in the case of Zamfara cannot field candidates in the 2019 general elections for the National Assembly, governorship and state assembly elections. 

“That does not include the presidential elections, and the position of the commission had not changed. Once the court of law makes pronouncement all persons and authorities in the Federal Republic of Nigeria are duty bound to obey. I think the judgement is from the Supreme Court. That is the end to litigation,” the INEC chairman said.

On the commission’s deployment of materials for the elections, Yakubu said: “In fact19 states have fully deployed. By the end of the day (Thursday), all states and FCT would have deployed except Bayelsa state which is moving direct from our state office in Yenagoa to the RACs tomorrow.

 “Tomorrow, activities at ward level will commence with the activation of the Registration Area Centres (RACs) at 9.00am while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at mid-day. This is the last staging post before deployment to 119,973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8.00am on Saturday.

 “We once again profoundly appreciate the continuous understanding and words of encouragement from all stakeholders. In particular, some of our international observers are on short-term single entry visa. Some may also wish to leave the country after the elections this Saturday and return to observe the governorship, state assembly and FCT Area Council elections now rescheduled for Saturday 9thMarch, 2019. 

“In order to make the processes easier, the Nigeria Immigration Service, working with the commission, is granting extension of visa to all international observers who require such facility. 

“Similarly, the Immigration Service is also granting re-entry visa to all observers who may wish to travel out of the country and return for the second part of the general elections. In this regard, the Service has also requested me to convey its decision to waive the visa fee and treat all such requests expeditiously. 

“The extension of stay or re-entry into the country will be treated gratis. A special desk to handle those who wish to extend their stay as well as those travelling and coming back to Nigeria before 9th March, 2019 has been set up at the Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 

“Two immigration officers have been assigned to carry out the ad hoc assignment. On behalf of the commission, I wish to extend our profound appreciation to the Nigeria Immigration Service for this initiative.”

 On the welfare of youth corps members serving as presiding officers at polling units, he said, “The commission is unhappy with images of some of some of them sleeping rough at the RAC centres. 

“We have been in discussion with the director general of the NYSC on how this situation can be ameliorated. We have made an arrangement with the NYSC to move the mattresses used in their orientation camps nationwide, except Borno state where youth corps members are not deployed, for the ease their hardship. 

“As usual, the commission will provide electricity generators and supply water and toiletries in the RACs. We have also liaised with the security agencies for adequate protection.”

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