The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), in Anambra state, Dr Elizabeth Agwu has vowed to deploy spiritual and physical powers to make sure that anyone involved in electoral malpractice in the 2023 general in the State did not go unpunished.
The INEC boss who spoke in a meeting with major stakeholders in the state towards making sure that voters were properly mobilised to participate in the poll, however, assured that the Commission was committed to providing equal opportunities to all political parties and their candidates to test their popularity among the voters.
“I am ready to die if that is what is required of me to make sure that we conducted this coming elections in a most credible, transparent and acceptable manner; I have been a pastor for 22 years; I have been assured that if I die, I have my place in Heaven, so I am not afraid of death anymore”, she stated.
She decried the reluctance of some registered voters in the state to go for collection of their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, stating for instance that there were over 7,000 uncollected PVCs Njikoka local government area alone adding that a similar situation obtained in most other 20 local government areas in the state.
She pleaded with the stakeholders which included representatives of the state traditional rulers council, religious organizations ( Christians and Muslims), students Union, political party leaders, National Orientation Agency, National Youth Service Corp, transport unions, civil society organisations, Inter-party Advisory Council, IPAC, etc, to assist in mobilising the voters to go and collect their PVCs promising that their offices at the various local governments would be open 24 hours from Monday to Friday.
She stated that the Commission had perfected plans to ensure that the election would be difficult to rig, adding that incidence of vote-buying would be difficult to be carried out.
She said mobile phones would not be allowed in the polling areas, so as to make it impossible for voters to disclose which political party they cast their vote for so as to be paid thereafter, adding that the polling cubicles had been designed to make sure that a voter cannot waive his ballot paper to party agents to see where he/she voted after thumbprinting.
Responding to complaints over loss of PVCs to flood by many residents of the riverine areas of the state, the state INEC boss called on leaders of the affected areas to compile names of voters affected and forward to his office, promising to approach the national headquarters of the Commission to see if their PVCs could be reprinted and distributed to them before the election.
She also promised a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, Chief Ndubuisi Nwobu who complained that his son’s name was missing on the displayed voters’ register that the omission could be corrected before the election.
Chairman of the traditional rulers council, Anambra South senatorial zone, Igwe Paul Orji of Ezinifite community, Aguata local government area of the state disagreed with the Commission’s record that the number of registered voters in the state was 2.5million, as he insisted that the number should not be less than four million arguing “In my family alone we are 50 registered voters.”