By Abiodun Esan
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken its voter education and Permanent Voter Cards collection campaign to churches in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami, visited some churches in Ilorin on Sunday for the programme.
At the Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Asa Dam, Ilorin, the REC told the congregation of the need to collect their PVCs to enable them exercise their civic duty during the elections.
He called on Christians to pray for the success of the elections and for God to take absolute control of the elections in Kwara and Nigeria.
The REC urged the people of the state to collect their PVC before the Feb. 8 deadline for the collection.
He said that after the deadline for collection, all uncollected PVCs would be taken to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safe keeping.
“My goal for Kwara is to conduct the best election in this country; I want Kwara to be a reference point for credible, fair, free and acceptable election.
“Christian community should be part of history that makes Kwara election the best in the country.
“We should all pray to God Almighty for direction, protection of lives, and special prayers for peaceful conduct of the election.
“On my part, I am saying it again that INEC will conduct free, fair, credible and acceptable election that will be applauded by international community,” Attahiru-Madami said.
At the Bishop Smith Memorial Anglican Church, Ilorin, he told the congregation that security of lives and property were assured on election days.
He appealed to voters to massively come out on election days to vote for candidates of their choice, adding that their PVC is their weapon to elect leaders they want.
The REC advised the congregation to thumb print well while voting and fold their ballot paper well before dropping into the ballot box that would be placed close to the voting cubicle.
He said INEC has device ways to prevent vote buying at polling units on the days of elections.
Attahiru-Madami said telephones would not be allowed into the polling units to discourage voters from taking picture of thumb printed ballot papers.
He also said that ballot boxes are now very close to voting cubicles while thumb printed ballot papers would be folded before dropping inside the box.
The REC also appealed to women to prevail on their children and wards not to be used as political thugs during the elections.
He appealed to Christians not to sell their PVCs for any amount because of the future of their children.
“Your PVC is your power to elect leaders of your choice that will deliver dividends of democracy. If you sell your PVC and the wrong persons are elected; you will suffer it for four years,” the REC said.
The Bishop-elect of the Church, Ven. Oluwaseun Aderogba, commended the REC for the sensitisation, stressing that the Christian community had been sensitising its members on the elections.
Aderogba said that the church in partnership with Community Life Project has printed flyers and handbills on the election procedures.
He prayed that God would take control of the situation on election days for a peaceful and violence free 2019 elections in Kwara and Nigeria.