By Solomon Odeniyi
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that as of Tuesday, 4th of September, 2018 out of 1,682,195 voters registered, a total number of 1,213,026 Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) have been collected remaining 463,186, a figure which represented about 22.37%.
This formed part of the welcome address by Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, the Osun State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) during a one day Sensitization Forum for Media Executives and Reporters on the Conduct of Osun Governorship Election which held at Ideal Nest Hotel, Osogbo on Wednesday.
Venerable Steven Ojewande, the Director of Voter Education and Publicity who stood in for the (REC), also revealed that the Commission had put machineries in motion to ensure the election is free, fair and credible.
According to him, “INEC has taken steps to ensure comprehensive and targeted voters’ education, collection of PVCs in 334 wards in the state, training of security agents at the state, senatorial and local government areas, upgrading of card readers, conducting regular meetings with relevant agencies, distribution of final list of registered voters to the 48 political parties contesting, publication of final list of governorship aspirants and their running mates and training of poll officials and supervisors”.
He also added that for the smooth flow of the election, the Commission had created 3,010 polling units, 755 voting points, 332 Registration Area all which will be in the 30 local government areas in the state.
In his opening remark, Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, revealed that the Gubernatorial Election in Osun would be the 7th that the Commission had conducted after the 2015 Presidential Election.
He added that since the inception of the tenure of the incumbent chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, INEC had operated an open door policy and the media had been given a pride of place.
“INEC holds quarterly meetings with the media where ideas are exchanged and the media was separated from other relevant organizations like the Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs).
“As per the media, we expect them to maintain balance and objectivity during election coverage.
“There is need for precision, balance, fairness and accuracy and INEC expects reportage that is based on what is taking place since it is likely that conflict may occur, journalists should be careful on what to report”.
Oyekanmi also cautioned against the use of hate speeches in the election reports and urged the media to maintain balance.
The CPS disclosed that as at the closing of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) on the 31st of August, 2018, 13.6 million voters were registered nationwide and from the breakdown of 463,186 PVCs that remained uncollected in Osun, it was just 1% which signified a remarkable improvement.