By Ephraims Sheyin
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered 83,190 voters in Plateau, in the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration exercise, according to Alhaji Husaini Pai, the state’s Resident Electoral Commissioner.
Pai told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday that most of those captured were fresh entrants that had attained the age of 18.
He said that the others included those seeking new cards after misplacing or defacing theirs, as well as those seeking a change of voting points from other states.
According to him, 30,342 persons were captured in the first phase of the exercise, while 52,948 were registered in the second phase. The third phase kicked off on Nov. 9 and will end Dec. 1.
The commissioner attributed the steady rise in the number to intensive campaigns and consistent meetings with stakeholders like political parties, traditional rulers, religious leaders and community elders.
Pai said that more voters were registered in the second phase because it began at the end of the farming season when farmers were less engaged.
“In Quan-Pan Local Government, for instance, only 1,700 voters were captured in the first phase. The same local government produced 4,900 new voters in the second phase.
“The situation was even more surprising in Wase Local Government which had only 317 fresh voters in the first quarter, only to bring in 4,635 fresh voters in the second quarter,” he said.
He said that more voters were also attracted to register when more centres were created which eased access, adding that more may be added to the current 24 to bring them closer to people in the villages.
Pai, however, said that there was more enthusiasm among voters in the urban areas, especially Jos North and Jos South Local Governments, adding that most rural dwellers usually feel “too busy” to visit the registration points.
He said that 740 voters from other states had transferred their voting points to Plateau, while 1,493 had moved from one local government to another, within the state.
According to him, 4,094 voters, who lost their cards, got new ones, while 340 voters with temporary cards, were given new ones.
The commissioner particularly commended Plateau elites for transporting prospective voters to registration points located in local government secretariats, saying that the distance had discouraged many people from registering.
Pai said that the commission was introducing various devices toward a free, transparent and acceptable electoral process in 2019, and assured Nigerians seeking elective posts of fair play.
“INEC has tried to be fair; we have tried to introduce new measures to improve on our performance. We shall continue to explore modern technology to ward off evil tendencies.
“It is a testimony to our credibility that many Nigerians want us to conduct local government elections currently being handled by state electoral bodies.
“INEC is flattered by that trust because it is difficult to win the confidence of Nigerians since they are usually very skeptical and suspicious of everything and everyone,” he said. (NAN)