General Elections: Imoke Urges INEC To Sensitize Electorate

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CALABAR, Sept 21, (THEWILL) - Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to evolve a system where the electorate is fully sensitized and educated on its functions.

Imoke made the call on Tuesday while receiving Mr. Mike Igini, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River, during a courtesy call, saying that people and not the political parties, should be aware and enlightened of their procedures which include voters registration exercise, availability of elections materials and education of voters on party symbols and identification of candidates.

The Governor commended the leadership of the commission for organizing a series of seminars, retreats and workshops in preparation for the 2011 elections which he said is a critical ingredient to its road map for hitch free elections while calling on the commission to remodel its distribution of ballot papers to difficult terrain and rural areas as well as make it possible for eligible voters to identify their candidates.

He remarked that the two weeks `earmarked for voters registration exercise across the nation was adequate and hoped the commission’s just concluded retreat in Calabar had identified and addressed its challenges, explaining that in Cross River, democracy has brought significant changes and hope to the people and should be sustained by doing those things which are right.

The Governor promised to partner INEC to ensure every Cross Riverian exercises his right to choose his candidate as well as work with it to ensure its functions in the state are successful, disclosing that the state has fully expunged cultism from politics to reduce the level of violence and ensure election is successful and credible.

Imoke explained that the state is in line with the President’s commitment to ensure that elections are credible as well as ensure Cross Riverians benefit from what comes out from peaceful elections as dividends of democracy, noting that peace and security are critical elements for the development of a society where every one has equal access to governance.

Mr. Mike Igini, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Cross River State, who was sworn in on July 20 and resumed office on July 26, said he was set to perform the functions which he is sent for in the State and he had held an interactive session with all political parties and stake holders as it is prepared to partner all stake holders to ensure full participation, equal opportunities and level playing grounds for all to ensure peaceful and free elections.

Igini said after a three day retreat for all Resident Electoral Commissioners in Calabar, the commission is determined to ensure that its time table is fully followed as it is not interested in the candidates but in the process which it places in high premium, reasoning that the issue of internal democracy is important in the respective parties to present credible candidates.

He said voter’s registration exercise would soon begin in the state and it will cover the 2283 polling wards and that the commission intends to partner the people to enable it reach difficult terrain, stating that though the exercise is capital intensive, it would be completed within the stipulated two weeks duration.

The Commissioner called for the introduction of a tribunal to treat electoral offences in order to ensure strict adherence to electoral guidelines and rule of law.