The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi has taken delivery of 150,892 additional Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) following the recent Continuous Voters’ Registration(CVR).
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Godswill Obioma, announced this at a meeting with the chairmen and secretaries of political parties in Ebonyi on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
He said that the commission received 179,550 PVCs from the previous registration, adding that 69,545 PVCs had been collected by their owners.
Obioma said that over 110,000 cards were yet to be claimed by their owners from the previous registration exercise.
“Our office has just received additional 150,892 PVCs and the cards are ready for collection.
“I therefore call on you all, as stakeholders, to double your efforts in the sensitisation of registered voters to come forth and collect their PVCs.
“Collection of PVCs will not be by proxy, their owners must come forth and collect their PVCs.
“This will guarantee earnest expectations for Ebonyi to witness a larger voter turnout in the forthcoming 2019 general elections,” Obioma said.
He said that the commission’s contiguous polling units within each registration areas were now PVC collection points as they were closer to the people.
The resident commissioner also urged political parties and candidates to engage in issue-based and violence-free electioneering towards the 2019 general elections.
Obioma said that it was imperative for candidates in the election and their political parties to conduct themselves well.
He reiterated INEC’s commitment to conduct transparent, credible, free and fair elections in Ebonyi, while urging politicians in the state to cooperate with the commission to achieve its objectives.
Obioma said that INEC would monitor all the campaigns of the various political parties as well as track their finances.
“It is our duty to advise all active players engaged or to be engaged in this segment of electionerring process to carry on with issue based political campaigns.
“Contestants and indeed political parties should avoid campaign of calumny, hate and divisiveness.
“All manners of hate speeches should be avoided as these will only lead to violence and undue heating up of the polity,” he said.
Obioma reminded the party leaders of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended) that prescribed acceptable code of conduct for political parties and their candidates during campaigns.
“We hereby draw your attention to sections 94 and 102 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) and Article 3 of political parties’ code of conduct.
“Political parties, their candidates, officials and agents are expected to conduct their political campaigns within the ambit of the law.
“They are to work towards ensuring an environment conducive for successful, peaceful, free and fair election campaigns”.
He said the commission, in accordance with the extant electoral laws,. had stipulated campaign spending limits for the various elective positions and corresponding penalties for violation.
According to him, campaign spending limit for presidential election is N1 billion, while penalty for violation is N1 million or 12-month imprisonment or both.
Obioma said that governorship campaign spending limit was N200 million with penalty of N600,000 or six-month imprisonment or both, while Senatorial and house of representatives spending limits were N40 million and N20 million respectively.
He said that defaulters would pay N600,000 or risk six-month jail term or both.
The resident commissioner said that campaign funding for candidates vying for state house of assembly was pegged at N10 million with N300,000 penalty or three months’ imprisonment or both.
“Political parties are expected to comply with provisions of the law in this regard by reporting their financial transactions to the commission,” he said.
Obioma urged the party leaders to sensitise the electorate on dangers inherent in vote selling and vote buying, while appealing to them to mobilise voters to collect their PVCs.