Date Published: 02/07/11
INEC, NYSC face-off: Big threat to voters' registration exercise in Ebonyi State
Our attention has been drawn to the friction between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Ebonyi State that has led to bulk-passing of the delay in payment of allowances of corps members involved in the on-going listing of voters.
We learnt that the corps members have threatened to boycott the exercise if their allowances were not immediately paid.
Although media reports quoted the two agencies to have assured that the situation was being addressed; it is our considered opinion that it calls for serious concern in view of the hitches that have trailed the exercise from the beginning.
We have keenly monitored the on-going registration of voters exercise in Ebonyi State and are worried that an accurate list of eligible voters in the state might not be possible.
Barely 72 hours to the end of the exercise, reports from across the state; still indicate unavailability of registration materials, particularly registers, ink and malfunctioning of printers.
While several registered voters in some polling units in Ebonyi South Senatorial District are yet to be issued with their voters’ cards, some polling units in Ebonyi Central lack ink and voters register. There are many cases of persons who are yet to be issued with their voters’ cards more than two weeks after registration.
We gathered that the registration officers usually advise those registered but are not able to get their cards to visit the local government offices of INEC for the collection of the cards on the expiration of the exercise.
Our worry is that many Ebonyians are illiterate and poor; and might not be able to afford the cost of going to the council headquarters to collect their cards after February 5.
Given the ugly signals emerging from Ebonyi regarding the listing of voters, we passionately appeal to INEC to do their job well. They should as a matter of urgency put their house in order and pay the corps members their allowances. The non-corps members among them should also be paid to avoid the disruption of the exercise in the state.
Finally, efforts should be made to ensure that all registered voters are issued with voters’ cards.
Arrangements should also be worked out on how to use the polling units to distribute the cards to registered voters even after the expiration of the registration exercise.
Ebonyi Professionals Forum