The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said that between 2015 and 2018, 980,425 permanent voter cards (PVCs) have been collected in Kwara state.
INEC added that many Nigerians are not aware of the enormous powers embedded in the voting facility.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mallam Garba Attahiru Madami said this in Ilorin, the state capital while playing host to the state Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by its Chairman, Comrade Umar Abdulwahab.
Madami said that a total of 264,823 PVCs were yet to be claimed by their owners in the state, adding that only 50,571 voters collected the card between 2017/2018.
He decried voter registration apathy in the state and pointed out that Kwara was at the bottom in the just concluded exercise when compared to other states.
In spite of the challenges, the REC expressed confidence the 2019 general elections would be the best in the country, saying the commission was duty bound to conduct free, fair and credible polls.
Madami said INEC had put in place measures to address the challenges, declaring that “I want the state to be rated best”.
He, however, urged the media to be wary of fake news, crosscheck facts and figures and refer to the commission when need arises so as not to mislead the public.
“Our duty is to conduct free, fair and credible election. That we will do. 2019 election will be the best in the country I want to assure you.
INEC has put in place many things to address the challenges, we have mapped out strategies. I’m confident it would be the best.
“Our doors are opened for any information. But let me quickly add that voter registration in Kwara is very poor. Kwara is at the bottom in the voter registration when compared to other states. Less than one million people obtained PVC in Kwara, only 50,000 added to this between 2017 and 2018.
“Another thing is that many voters don’t know the power of PVC. We will start with that. I want to therefore urge the media to check fake news. We are going to give you maximum cooperation to make your job easier. We are in Kwara to conduct free and fair election in Kwara. I want the state to be rated best”, Madami said.
In his remarks, the state NUJ Chairman, Comrade Umar Abdulwahab, said the union had enjoyed cordial relationship with the electoral umpire and added that it should be sustained especially now that the elections are around the corner.
He, however, stressed the need to make available right information at the appropriate time if the era of fake news must be ended.
The NUJ chairman urged the commission to allow the union handle accreditation of journalists that would be assigned to cover the forthcoming general elections in the state as exemplified in the Ekiti governorship poll held few weeks ago.