By Dennis Agbo
The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Gubernatorial candidate in Enugu state and former Minister for Information, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to make do it’s promise of providing more registration machines for anxious prospective registrants in the south east.
Nweke Jr gave the charge following protests by Enugu residents, on Tuesday, over poor registration exercise going on in the state.
While praising the increased participation of Nigerians in the electoral process, he also expressed his dissatisfaction over the delay in ensuring that enough personnel and machines were deployed to Enugu State and other parts of the South-East.
“This is not right. I have been to the registration centres and engaged with citizens who have spent weeks trying to get registered. That persistence is encouraging and speaks of a new dawn for our democracy. It is essential that the Independent Electoral Commission step up to the demands of the populace and provide what is required.
“This request for more machines in the South East had been made weeks ago. It is saddening that citizens have to resort to a protest for a process that should be seamless.
“I am told that two additional machines were deployed to Okpara Square to satiate the protesters. More needs to be done and quickly too. I have been to Okpara Square myself and the few machines there cannot serve the hundreds of people who go there to be registered every day,” Nweke Jr said.
The protest included mostly young people who marched to the INEC office in Enugu with chants of “PVC is our right”, “Give us machines,” among other inscriptions.
It will be recalled that the Electoral Commission had promised to deploy more equipment and personnel to the South-East after several requests had been made a few weeks ago, but appears that this is yet to be done.
Nweke Jr however lauded the commission for extending the registration period by 60 days. He noted that this was necessary to accommodate the number of people who are becoming aware of their civic responsibility and making the effort to get their PVCs.
“I also applaud the persistence of everyone who has not given up on the process. I believe that we will begin to see a marked difference as INEC responds speedily to these requests. We should be able to accommodate more people as well, especially with the extension of the registration period,” he stated.