The senator representing Borno South in the National Assembly, Mohammed Ali Ndume, on Sunday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had shown its willingness to see that no Nigerian of voting age was disenfranchised.
The lawmaker, who expressed satisfaction with the effort of the electoral umpire to ensure that thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are not deprived of their civic responsibility of electing their representatives, said INEC had shown from day one that “no Nigerian that has come of age is left out of the exercise.”
Ndume said he had paid visits to some of the IDPs’ camps in Maiduguri and saw that INEC was doing a great job of giving the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to those displaced by insurgency.
The senator, who addressed a press conference after a tour of some of the IDPs’ camps in Maiduguri, said: “I want to commend INEC for embarking on the distribution of the PVC after so many delays.”
“You can see in most polling units, that individuals are so anxious to collect their PVC, because it is the only ticket that will allow them participate in next months, general election,’’ he added.
Ndume said the large turnout of registered voters wishing to collect their PVCs was a good omen and implies that Nigerian are more than ever interested in who represent them.
“The large turnout is an indication that we are going to have a massive voters turnout during the election in February,’’ he said.
Ndume also commended INEC for distributing the PVCs at various IDP camps in Maiduguri.
“You can see that even the IDPs are eager to collect their voters, cards, going by the number of people trying to collect their PVCs.
“Many people are happy that it is now clear that they are going to vote during the election,’’ he said.
He, however, appealed to the military to hasten the ongoing operations to dislodge the Boko Haram insurgents from the state so that the IDPs can go back home before the elections.
“We will be very happy if the military is able to dislodge the insurgents from our villages before the elections, so we can vote in our homes,’’ he said.
Ndume said many people were apprehensive about the conduct of election in the state at the initial stage.
“Section 42 of the Electoral Act states clearly that no Nigeria should be disenfranchised by preventing him from voting in an election.
“But the problem of insurgency had created many IDPs who are no longer staying in their communities,’’ he said
Ndume added: “Even INEC was worried about the situation at one point.
“But the senate in its wisdom passed a motion mandating INEC to use its administrative structure to allow the IDPs to vote.’’
He said the action had paid off as the IDPs were happy with the development.
“The IDPs are eager to exercise their voting right during the election by bringing a lasting change that will turn round their situation,” he said, insisting: “The IDPs want to vote for a government that will allow them go back to their homes.”