ENUGU State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Emeka Ononamadu has appealed to journalists in the country to help the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct credible and acceptable elections during the 2019 polls.
Mr. Ononamadu who spoke in his office in Enugu during his post Continuous Voter Registration briefing yesterday said that the cooperation of the press would give the electoral umpire the leverage to conduct a non-violent and free and fair elections that would usher the country into another democratic setting.
He explained that only accurate and patriotic reportage of the activities of the electoral body would water down the tension in the polity, stressing that it is the practice in all developed democracies in the world.
The Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner also used the opportunity to plead with the press to always approach his office for clarification on any issue before going to the print, promising that INEC will always keep its door open for the press.
He stated that the Continuous Voter Registration exercise which was supposed to end on August 17, was extended to August 31, 2018 after the Commission evaluated the requests by Nigerians to that effect.
According to him, the exercise was suspended to allow sufficient time for data processing, printing of the permanent voters card and subsequent collection of the cards (PVCs) before the 2019 elections. He however promised that the exercise will resume after the elections.
Ononamadu explained that with 150 days to the 2019 general elections, 61 of the 91 registered political parties have sent their notices of party congresses and primaries to elect their delegates as well as flag bearer for the 2019 general elections.
“As the moment of the elections approach closer and closer, INEC will be giving the citizens and the press regular update of our activities and state of preparedness. The commission is ready to implement its policies to encourage political parties in Enugu State to practice internal democracy,” he stated.
He described the Continuous Registration Exercise in Enugu state as a huge success revealing that it was a remarkable improvement in the history of voter registration in Nigeria. According to him, as at August 31, the total number of fresh registration across Nigeria stood at 14,551,482.
The total number of PVCs collected stood at 869,406 , requests for transfers stood at 769,917, while a total of 1, 178,793 requested for replacement were received.
Further to that, he said that Enugu State registered 549,326 new voters which is 3.77 percent of total national new CVR registration.
The state according to him is placed fifth state in the country and the FCT with the highest number of registered voters. “If all the PVCs in Enugu are collected by their owners, a total of 1, 961,586 will be going into the 2019 general elections in Enugu State,” the INEC boss stated.