BY: NICK NWANERI, Calabar
The State Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Cross River State Chapter, Comrade . Benedict Onah Okache has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the technological innovations introduced to sanitise the electoral process by reducing electoral malpractice and corruption to the barest minimum.
Okache who made the commendations during a courtesy call on the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe in his office.
He encouraged INEC not to be discouraged by the nefarious activities of some politicians and players within the polity geared towards frustrating their efforts and the process, adding that these efforts should be sustained to change the narrative and bring sanity to the electoral processes in the Country.
The Chairman inferred that these innovations are returning power back to the electorates and making voters’ registration closer to the people and called on Cross Riverians to take advantage of the continuous voters’ registration exercise to do the needful, so that they can have a say in the choice of people to lead them in the forth coming general elections in 2023.
He however called on politicians to cooperate with INEC for a foul proof process instead of trying to jeopardise their efforts.
He further called on religious organizations to wake up to the challenge of getting involved and sensitising their members to exercise their political responsibilities while pledging the support of NIPR Cross River State Chapter in the sensitisation of electorates across the State and giving professional technical support whenever necessary to further the course.
In his response, the Cross River State REC, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe appreciated the NIPR for the visit and the promised support, acknowledging that indeed, technology has helped a lot in the improvements recorded in the electoral process.
He informed that at inception of the continuous voters’ registration exercise, Cross River State was the least registered among the South South States, revealing that current figures already show improvement in the number of people registered, which has pushed the State forward.
Omorogbe further informed that with One Hundred and Thirty-one Thousand (131,000) fresh registrations done as at March 23, 2022, he is confident that the number can be trippled by the end of the Fourth phase of the continuous voters’ registration exercise in June 2022.
He informed that Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) does not expire and when defaced, can be replaced by the commission, adding that those with issues regarding their PVCs should use this opportunity to address them to avoid being disenfranchised in the fourth coming general elections in 2023.
He warned against multiple registration which he described as an electorial offence punishable by the Laws of the Federation.