CVR: INEC preaches sustained peace in Ondo, tasks citizens on 200, 000 uncollected PVCs 

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has expressed delight that, so far, the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has been hitch-free and prayed for sustained peace throughout the exercise.

Speaking at a meeting in Akure with the state chapter of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security (ICCES), Professor Yakubu said the purpose of his visit to Ondo was to observe the ongoing CVR as well as the preparations being made for the November 24 governorship election in the state.

He noted that over 200,000 PVCs were still uncollected in the state and encouraged the people to go out and collect them, adding that INEC does not only conduct elections but also conducts electoral activities.

“There are two reasons why we are in Ondo state today. First is for us to observe the Continuous Voter Registration exercise and the progress we are making and the challenges. Secondly, is to observe the preparation for the forthcoming governorship election. 

“As you are aware, we have exactly 165 days before the governorship election, the election is holding on the 16th of November. 

“Let me once again appreciate the members of ICCES. INEC does not only conducts elections, INEC also conducts electoral activities. The CVR is an electoral activity, and in November we will conduct the election.

“We can’t succeed in delivering electoral activities and the elections, unless the electoral environment is secured for us and until critical stakeholders a sensitised. 

“That is why in ICCES you have not only the traditional security agencies, but we have the intelligence agencies, we have the law enforcement agencies, we have emergency services, and other members of ICCES such as the NYSC, the NOA and others. 

“This is going to be the third governorship election conducted by the present Commission in Ondo state. 

“I was here in 2016 for the same purpose, I was here in 2020 for the governorship election, and by God’s grace we’ll be here again in November 2024 for yet another governorship election. 

“I must say that the build up to this governorship election has so far, I underscore the word so far, been very peaceful, and we hope that working together with the security agencies, we will sustain the peace. 

“I want to assure registered voters in Ondo state that they should continue to troop out in their numbers to register, and come out and collect their PVCs from the current registration, but we also have literarily over 200,000 uncollected PVCs from the last exercise. 

“So, we encourage people to come and collect their PVCs so they can cast their votes for whoever they wish to vote for on election day.

“Before I conclude, let me say what I consistently continue to say that INEC is not a political party, we don’t have a candidate in the Ondo governorship election. The choice of who becomes the next governor in Ondo state is entirely in the hands of voters, and we’ll protect their choices, and the integrity of the process,” the INEC chair pledged. 

The Co-chair of ICCES in Ondo state and Commissioner of Police, Mr Abayomi Oladipo, said “In Ondo state, the seamless cooperation between the REC and the members of ICCES has been an advantage to us in the election security management. 

“At the moment, we don’t seem to have challenges relating to elections. Apart from the crimes that are being committed and are localised to the various senatorial districts. 

“On the side of the police, we realise that we cannot do it alone and that is why we have the support of every security agency and members of ICCES in the state, that we move together as a team and tackle the budding election crisis. 

“At the moment, we don’t have inter party crisis, what we have is internal crisis within the political parties, but as time goes on, we are equal to the task, and we assure you that on our own part, we will discharge our duties to ensure that the people, the staff of INEC and the materials are protected.”

Welcoming the INEC chairman and other security personnel to the meeting, Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs Toyin Babalola, said all the registration centres for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) had been adequately manned by security personnel and no negative report had been received so far since the commencement of the exercise.

Babalola said the commission had met with the security agencies three times in the last five months this year, pointing out that on 21st May 2024, they had met to review the security arrangement for the Continuous Voters Registration exercise.