Clerics have called on the Independent Electoral Commission, (INEC) to boost effort in the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and evolve measures to curb vote-buying.
The clerics, who made the call in Lagos on Monday, also urged the commission to ensure that results of elections released on time.
Rev.Fr. Innocent Ebuka, a Catholic priest of the Missionary Society of St. Paul, Lagos, said INEC needed to ensure all that registered voters get their PVCs ahead of the general elections in 2019.
“The objective of the PVC is that every registered voter gets his or her card, on time, so as to allow him or her exercise his or her franchise during elections.
“Already, there are complaints about the collection of the cards, as many of the registered voters are unable to get their PVCs.
“Nigerians who registered to vote but can not get their PVCs will not lend credibility to the elections,’’ Ebuka said.
He said that incident where voters could not locate their particulars on the Voters’ Register on election days might cast doubt about the legitimacy of the elections in the minds of such voters.
On his part, Pastor John Adebayo of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Harmony Parish, Itaoluwo, Lagos also urged INEC to review its result collation and the system of announcing election results.
“By now, I expect INEC to be upgrading its ICT usage to improve on the transmission of votes cast from distance voting stations to the main collation centre.
“Processes that will make votes cast to be effectively collated and the results speedily announced should be on the front burner of INEC reform agenda.
“A situation whereby announced results will not tally with the number of registered voters or number of voided votes and other criteria before announcing final results may mar the legitimacy of the polls.
“INEC needs to see that mistakes of the past in the area of announcing results don’t reoccur during the 2019 general elections,’’ he said.
He also called on the electoral body to begin earnest to engage credible personnel and seasoned academics as electoral officers for the 2019 elections.
Contributing, Sheik Sulaimon Habila, the Chief Imam, Jamahliy Muslim Society, Ikorodu Branch, called for more voter education that would discourage electorate from accepting any form of inducement before they elect their leaders.
He also advised INEC to let party agents know the implication of inducing voters during voting to avert annulment of results according to the electoral law.
“Campaign of any sort should not be allowed on voting day because it is against the law.
“Any party that indulges in such should have its results at such polling station voided,’’ he said.