From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
Kogi state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, has vowed to expose violations and Infractions of electoral law to law enforcement agencies in Kogi state.
Dr. Longpet gave the promise during a meeting with the media and civil society organizations in the state on INEC’S preparations, low-level of PVC collection and potential threats to electoral violence in the state.
The REC stressed the readiness of INEC in the state to identify to the police of political parties, candidates and their supporters who break the electoral law for police prosecution to serve as deterrent to others.
Dr. Longpet who raised concerns on the destructions of campaign posters of some candidates across the state promised to curb any acts of violence during electioneering campaigns that could lead to voter apathy.
He warned that INEC will not allow unhealthy manner of campaigns in the runoff to the elections to discredit the process hence, all electoral offenders would be prosecuted in accordance with the provisions of the electoral act.
Dr Longpet pointed out that posters of a particular candidate were torn overnight in one local government in the state saying such ‘lawless’ act by rival political parties in the state could trigger violence prior to elections as “peaceful elections border on the conduct of political actors” in the state.
He said a level playing ground must be created for all parties and candidates with equal air space in the state-owned media warning that sections 91 -97 of the electoral act strictly forbid the use of thugs to disrupt rallies, campaigns in places of worship, among other offences as criminal acts under the electoral law.
On the PVC collection rate so far, Dr Longpet says out of about 52,000 uncollected PVCs in 2019, only a fraction of the figure has been collected by the registrants while a large amount of PVCs still remain with INEC in spite of the intensified efforts by the Commission.
The REC therefore called on the people who had registered for the PVCs to come forward to INEC offices and registration areas for immediate collection of the unclaimed permanent voters cards (PVCs).
He cited a particular Local Government area in the state where only 8 persons out of 35,000 PVCs registrants have collected the PVCs adding that collection of PVCs, which had begun since November 12 continues till 2 January, 2013.
Longpet therefore called on critical stakeholders, media and civil society in the state to be in the vanguard of creating public awareness on the on-going collection of the permanent voters cards.