Prof. Francis Ezeonu, Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), made this known at an interactive meeting with religious bodies- members of the Christian and Muslim communities in Imo, on Tuesday in Owerri. He noted that the smart card reader which would be deployed for the elections was structured to read only the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) which has special features embedded on it with the voters’ personal information. Ezeonu, therefore, enjoined all who are yet to get their PVCs to go to their different wards from Jan. 16 to get their cards in order not to be disfranchised. “The smart card reader is expected to read the permanent voters card and once it could not read any card, the person will not be allowed to vote,” he said. Ezeonu said the interactive meeting with the religious bodies was part of INEC’s move to reach out to all segments of the society to brief them on the progress so far and get suggestions from them for a free, fair and credible elections. He explained that 2.27 million voters were registered in Imo with over 630,000 PCVs yet to be collected. He urged the stakeholders to sensitise their members as INEC staff would visit the 305 electoral wards between Jan.16 and Jan. 21 to distribute the PVCs, adding that Feb. 8 is the last day for the distribution of the PVCs. On smart card reader malfunctioning, he explained that the Registration Area Technicians had been trained to regularly monitor the card readers and put them back to work as soon as possible. He said a form known as Form 60 E where each result of the election would be written would be pasted on the wall of buildings or trees for all to have access to, adding that all ballot papers not used would be cancelled immediately after election. Speaking, the representatives of the religious bodies advised INEC to ensure there was no problem between the collation of the results and transmission. They equally suggested full accreditation of voters before voting as against the simultaneous accreditation and voting stipulated by the electoral umpire. The Chairman, Muslim Council of Nigeria, Imo Chapter, Mr Yusuf Nwoha urged INEC to ensure it matched its plans with action- effective implementation- as well as spend money on sensitisation and encouragement of the electorate on PVC collection. “Imo at the moment is tensed up. The probability of miscreants fomenting trouble and disrupting the election progress should be checked. No election is worth the blood of any human being. INEC preparation is good, the problem is execution,” he said. Nwoha also advised INEC to check fake observers, malfunction of card readers as well as step up its operational strategy. Rev.Fr Innocent Osuagwu, who represented the Bishop of Owerri Archdioceses, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, enjoined the commission to ensure its staff exhibited some measure of uprightness during the election. NAN reports that the meeting had in attendance various heads of the different religious bodies in Imo.]]>

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