“INEC Will Not Allow Underage Voting In Ekiti”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured indigenes of Ekiti State that cases of underage voting will not be allowed during the July 14 governorship election in the state.

The commission clarified that the electoral body has not allowed such tendency during the registration of voters that had been undertaken in Ekiti since inception, adding that such would not be witnessed in the forthcoming election.

The commission also regretted that about 215,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are yet to be collected by owners a few months to the election in spite of its sensitisation and campaign programmes.

Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Monday, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. Abdulganiy Raji, said the body would not allow any sharp practice, including underage voting that could vitiate the electoral process during the poll.

Raji spoke based on controversies that trailed the just concluded Kano local government elections, where some underage voters were allegedly found to have voted.

Underage Voting: INEC, SIECs To Meet Today

As part of efforts to curb underage voting, the Independent National Electoral Commission will on Wednesday (today), hold a meeting with the 36 States’ Independent Electoral Commissions.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said, “You are cordially invited to cover the courtesy visit of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria to INEC headquarters on Wednesday, February 21, at 2pm.”

Although Oyekanmi did not state the purpose of the meeting, INEC had last week claimed that elections in which underage voters allegedly participated were not organised by INEC but states’ electoral bodies.

The local government election in Kano State which was won by the All Progressives Congress by a landslide was said to have been marred by underage voting as pictures were circulated on social media showing children between the ages of eight and 15 voting.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had last week announced that the commission would probe underage voting, adding that a committee would be set up to look into the matter and submit a report.

Sources within the commission told one of our correspondents that a committee headed by a national commissioner had been set up to look into the underage voting.

The source said the terms of reference and the method of investigation were still being worked out.

The source revealed that the committee would also investigate why and how underage voters were being added to the register handed to state electoral bodies by INEC.

The senior INEC official said, “The meeting will centre on underage voting and how the names of child voters can be purged from the register.

“We will also be looking at how INEC and SIEC across the states can cooperate and work better together.”

Electoral bodies at state level have been accused of rigging elections for the party in power in most states.