Voter Apathy: INEC begs religious leaders to mobilise members ahead of Imo guber poll

Prof. Yakub Mahmood

To discourage voter apathy, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has solicited the support of religious leaders to conduct a violence-free and credible governorship election in Imo. 

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Sylvia Agu, made the plea at an interactive meeting with leaders of religious groups in Owerri, ahead of the off-season November 11 Governorship Election in the state.

Mrs Agu said that the meeting became imperative in view of their roles in guiding their faithful to enthrone good governance.

“Help us to revive the hopes of the people, mobilise your members against voter apathy, and tell them what we are doing to get the process back.

“You have the capacity to engage them and turn them into being patriotic citizens.

“We request that you partner with INEC in sensitising and encouraging your members to actively participate in the election process, from PVC collection to voting on election day and protecting their votes in line with electoral guidelines,” Mrs Agu said.

She said that the ongoing issuance of PVC would end on Monday October 9, and urged those yet to collect theirs to visit their local government areas, except those in Orsu council area who should collect theirs at the Owerri office for security reasons.

“As part of its preparations, the commission has taken stock of all non-sensitive materials and batched them according to Registration Areas.

“The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines that would be deployed for the election have also arrived in the state and are being configured in readiness for the exercise.

“To ensure early arrival of election material to the polling units, the commission has insisted that Registration Area Camps (RACs) must be activated so as to reduce the travel time of election staff and materials on election day and ensure early commencement of voting,” she stated.

Mrs Agu assured the people that the sabotage witnessed during the general elections would not repeat itself, saying that adequate preparations had been made for transportation of materials and training of ad hoc staff.

“INEC meant no harm. We did our best in the last elections, but we are still asking for your continued prayer for our country and with God on our side, we will succeed,” she said.

In response, the General Secretary, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Imo chapter, Sunny Odoemene, urged INEC to ensure proper preparations to discourage voter apathy.

Mr Odoemene also appealed to the commission to ensure that results were pasted at every polling unit by electoral officials before leaving in order to check electoral malpractices.