From Rhoda Godwin, Yenagoa
A non governmental organization under the aegis of Fostering Achievement of Community Empowerment (FACE) Initiative and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has urged Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct Continuous voters registration before Bayelsa gubernatorial elections.
The Executive Director of FACE Initiative, Inatimi Odio, who came up with this in a statement issued and signed to newsmen in Yenagoa, expresses concern about the participation of youth in November 11 elections.
The statement reads in part, “the Fostering Achievement of Community Empowerment (FACE) Initiative and other youth-focused Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), are concerned about the participation of youth in the November 11 off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa state.
“We are concerned that there are no signs whatsoever that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct a Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in Bayelsa state with only a short time left until the forthcoming governorship election.
“Section 9(6) of the 2022 Electoral Act states that “the registration of voters, updating and revision of the Register of Voters under this section SHALL not stop not later than 90 days before any election covered by this Act.
“By this section of the Electoral Act, it is mandatory for INEC to continue to register new voters until August. It is imperative to note that many young Bayelsa youth have turned 18 years old since the suspension of the CVR exercise in July 2022. Others could not complete their registration or register at all before the suspension of the last exercise.
“We call on INEC to immediately set machinery into motion to conduct the CVR process in Bayelsa state. If this is not done scores of young people will be disenfranchised.
FACE Initiative in partnership with other organizations in Bayelsa state are ready to assist in mobilizing Bayelsa youth to go out and register.
“While the youth already constitute the majority of registered voters in Nigeria, they also constitute the highest number of citizens that are yet to register.”
He therefore called on INEC to ensure that Bayelsa youth are able to register and have their voices heard during the November 11 off-cycle governorship elections.