By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections, a female Presidential Aspirant, Princess (Prof.) Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure full participation of every Nigerian by, aside the regular voter card, embracing other national identity cards and alternative Register for voting.
She urged INEC to help individuals who are willing to vote and encourage others to participate in the elections.
Adesanya-Davies, in a statement by her Special Assistant, Isioma Nkenchor said: “In addition to appearance in person, with the INEC voters cards, INEC should consider to accept appearing with alternative identity cards to voter ID card such as: International passports, National ID Cards, Birth Certificates, Drivers’ licences, Marriage Certificates, Federal or State Working Valid ID Cards, etc. (But not all and any ID cards) at all Polling boots.
“Yes, those which are usually acceptable in card’s, International Immigration and Local Airports should be ideal. This would boost the participation of the entire Nigerian electorate in the electoral process.
” It is rather disturbing that less than 15% of the entire Nigerian voter populace participate in the voting process. Come to think of it, notably in some countries, if one is unable to vote in person, people still can vote by special ballot, as the world is fast changing.”
She added that, “Several Nigerians have complained about their inability to find INEC PCV Collection centres around their areas, secure voters cards or receive one after making several visits to the Centres, while most Centres with the Voters registration machines are no more functional. Some people said machines are mostly taken to very obscure places where people cannot access them. It is even said that people are now made to pay to some persons in order to buy voters cards; while some geo-political zones are said to be more advantaged and have more Collection centres than others.
“The voters ID card is to be for reference and not required to Vote, for example in some developed countries. There should be alternatives to voter ID Cards for voters on the poll day, by those who are yet to receive theirs, those who misplaced theirs, and those who have not collected at all. It would be proper and good for INEC to make adequate provisions for robust representation of the Nigerian people in the elections. We can still correct this population and the wide gap within zones.
“The population estimates and spread of statistics on INEC voter registration so far showing potential voters in the nation as shown below, and it is quite discouraging. South South – 10, 676,957, South East – 8,146, 833,South West – 14, 220, 569,North East – 9, 325,647,North Central – 11,157, 988 and North West – 18, 033, 850.”
The presidential hopeful stressed that the election monitoring team jointly with the security agencies should be better empowered to ensure free and fair elections .