Okowa’s Appointees, Others Cause Uproar At Flag Off INEC Continuous Voters’ Registration Exercise Over Muslim Opening Prayers

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Appointees of the Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa and other persons otherwise referred to as stakeholders on Friday caused serious uproar at the flag-off of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) continuous voters’ registration exercise in Asaba, the state capital over a Muslim opening prayers to kick off the event.

Trouble started when the Master of Ceremony (MC), Mr. Karim Momodu, who is also a staff of INEC called on the chief Imam of the Delta state police command, DSP Idris Ibrahim to render an opening prayers to commence the event.

Shortly after the prayers, the MC went straight to the next line up of programme, at this junction, the Special Adviser to governor Okowa and former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Edwin Uzoh, the chairman of the state waste management board, Mr. Douglas Okolotu, the Oshimili local government PDP chairman, Mr. Nduka Ogwuda and other stakeholders furiously attacked the MC with words which almost resulted into lynching him.

“Will you come here, are you mad, who told you Delta state is a Muslim state.? How on earth will call on a Muslim to pray and left out the christians. You are very stupid, you are an idiot. I will order for your beating here now. What nonsense. What an insult.” visibly angered Ogwuda said.

“Who do you think you are, you called on a Muslim to pray and refused to call up a christian to also say a prayer. Something must be seriously wrong in your head. You think you are in a Muslim state. You are very sick.” provoked Uzoh told the MC.

“You are very very foolish, very stupid, how can invite a Muslim for the opening prayers and deliberately ignore the Christian to also pray.? You must be very stupid. We can beat you up here now. Do you know where you are. Because you are a Muslim you called up your Muslim brother to pray and you left out the christian to also pray. You are very very mad.” angry Okolotu said.

HardReporters correspondent who witnessed the scenario reports that seeing that the tension was high and about to snowball to a fight, the MC had to tendered an unreserved apologies, saying it was not a deliberate act that his intention was to call up a christian at the end of the event to render the closing prayers to balance the equation.

But still, the already charged up governor Okowa’s appointees and others continue to chastise him until some senior staff of the commission intervened and a christian, Deacon Chris Uche, Special Assistant on community development to governor Okowa was called upon to render another prayers to represent the Christendom in the event.

Delivering his speech, INEC national commissioner, South-South, Mr. Muhammed Muatafa Lecky said the event represents an important milestone in Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) resolve to deliver on its mandate of conducting free, fair and credible elections even as he warned staff of the commission against any form of compromise during the exercise saying any one caught would be made to face the wrath of the law.

According to Lecky, the main objective of the event is to register new eligible voters and distribute Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) to others who had registered before but who couldn’t collect their PVCs.

“Related to this is the update of the voters’s register to reflect transfer and deaths in accordance with section 10 of the electoral act 2010 as amended. This requires the communication to update the voters’ register and make it available to every political party within 60 days after which each year of registration. The CVR exercise will hold in all the 774 local government areas of the federation and carry on till the conclusion of the general elections in 2019.

“The exercise will take place on Mondays through Fridays between 9:00am and 3:00pm, excluding public holidays. The local government officers of the commission or any other suitable location designated by the state office of the commission would be used as registration centres. The registration process is based on the following guild principles, first, registration must be done in person and not by proxy. Secondly, multiple registration is prohibited. Lastly, registration is a condition for exercising one’s right to vote.

“To facilitate the successful conduct of the CVR, a team of four Registration Area Officers (RAOs) and a Distribution Officer (DO) will be stationed at the LGA office or any other suitable location. The team will have two Direct Capturing Machines (DDCMs), one for data capture and the other as back-up. A laptop will also be provided to host the current national registration of voters in a searchable PDF format. The preliminary register of voters will be displayed for public scrutiny at registration centres at the end of every quarter before the printing of PVCs is commenced.

“Furthermore, Temporary Voters’ Cards (TVCs) will be issued to registrants at the point of registration. PVCs of voters registered in the 1st quarter should be ready for collection in the third quarter and PVCs of voters registered in the 2nd quarter should be ready in the 4th quarter. The PVC of voters that transferred will also be available for collection. The Distribution officer will also deal with cases of lost or omitted PVCs and test PVCs using the Smart Card Reader (SCR).” the national commissioner said.

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