In a bid to further sensitize electorates in the state on the need to avail them in the ongoing voters registration exercise, the Akwa lbom Independent Electoral Commission AKISIEC has organized a one day strategic sensitization seminar on continuous voter registration.
Speaking at the event which took place at Ibom Hall in Uyo, the state deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, described the 2023 general elections as crucial.
He said the elections will be crucial in the sense that the Peoples Democratic Party must take over power at the centre.
The state deputy governor who tasked Akwa lbom people to take advantage of the ongoing voters registration, especially, now that the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, was aspiring for presidential election, added that a total vote must be delivered for Udom to secure victory in upcoming presidential election as the only person who will rescue Nigeria.
Ekpo while identifying factors affecting low voting strength as lack of poor turnout during voters registration, task AKISIEC to replicate training of voters exercise in units, wards and local government areas in the state as well as engage in tutorial seminars repeatedly to get the people well educated.
He condemned the poor turnout by political stakeholders at the seminar especially, the local government chairmen.
Earlier in his speech, the AKISIEC chairman, Elder Aniedilkoiwak, said the 1999 Constitution as amended created 37 electoral commissions in Nigeria saddled with responsibilities.
Ikoiwak said, out of the 37 electoral commission, one was the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), while 36 others were State Independent Electoral Commission.
He said the responsibilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission was to conduct elections, supervise and monitor elections in the country and also get people to register.
He explained that the duties of states Independent Electoral Commission were to conduct, supervise and monitor elections at local governments level for chairmen and councillors.
He continued that the electoral act also gives State Independent Electoral Commissions the authority to sensitize people on voter registration and educate them on the need to register.
He reminded the stakeholders that early this year, his commission went round all the local governments in the state sensitizing the people.
He said sensitization was necessary as it offered opportunity to identify flaws and factors affecting registration as complained by the electorates which was reflected in the report forwarded to INEC and the governor.
The AKISIEC chairman further explained that the evaluation on the report did not yearn positive reaction from the concerned parties, as such, indicated that there was no improvement on voting strength as compared to the previous.
He charged Akwa lbom political stakeholders to prevail on their children, house helps, mates, relations and supporters to get registered now that new units have been created, adding that it may not augur well with the state in INEC elections reports if some units are left empty.
Ikoiwak posited that before, Akwa lbom used to have 2,980 polling units, that since some voting points have been converted to polling units by INEC last year, the state now have 4,354 polling units.
The state AKISIEC boss while calling on political stakeholders to ensure that the newly created units are useful, intimated them that if those units are not effectively use, that INEC will consider previous votes recorded in newly abandoned units rigged which will certainly post bad record.
lkoiwak while advising Akwa lbom people to be careful during voting exercise as 44,700 votes were declared invalid out of a total of 91, 000 cast at previous elections, advised those who have problem of double registration to avoid such and consult INEC for transfer of records.
He also advised those with faint voter card to go for reprinting while those with mistakes in names, dates or address to consult INEC office for correction.