The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Friday commenced the issuance of permanent voters’ cards in Ekiti State.
The exercise is taking place in all the 2,195 polling units of the state and prospective voters are expected to submit their temporary voter’s cards in exchange for the permanent ones.
In most of the polling units in some local government areas of the state, INEC officials battled to control the crowds.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in the state, Halilu Pai, said no fewer than 2,000 National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, members were trained and deployed for the exercise.
He said that another batch of 175 higher degree holders were also trained and deployed as supervisors to oversee the conduct of the exercise.
According to him, 657,000 permanent voters’ cards would have been issued to prospective voters at the end of the exercise on Sunday.
Governor Kayode Fayemi and his wife, Bisi, who were at their Isan-Ekiti country home in Oye local government area for the exercise, expressed satisfaction with the conduct and turn-out of the people.
The governor, however, pleaded with INEC to consider extending the March 9 deadline for the exercise.
Similarly, issuance of permanent voters’s card commenced in Osun State, as the REC, Rufus Akeju, presented permanent voters’ cards to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, his wife Sherifat and the Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuade.
Aregbesola, after collecting his card in Ilesa, his home town, urged Nigerians to see the electoral process as a means of guaranteeing their right to choose their leaders.
”The greatest power we have as a people is the power to fearlessly elect leaders of our choice from the ward to the national level. We must also be ready to discharge our responsibilities as responsible citizens by participating actively in the electoral process,” Aregbesola said.
He advised those who registered for the 2011 elections whose names were not on the list to make themselves available during the continuous voter registration exercise between March 12 and March 19.
Elections are scheduled to hold on August 9 in Osun State and June 21 in Ekiti State.