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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that despite intensive sensitisation by the commission, 548,000 Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) were yet to be collected by their owners ahead of the September 22 election.

The commission urged those who are yet to collect their cards to do so to enable them exercise their franchise. It also said that arrangements have been made to ensure that political parties participating in the poll have a successful campaign.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, disclosed this in Osogbo, when he addressed a consultative stakeholders meeting organised by Hope for Family Development Initiative (HFDI) in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

At the meeting which had ‘Promoting Women’s Participation in Osun Governorship Election’ as theme, Agbaje urged vulnerable groups in the state, especially women and people with disabilities, to come out to vote, promising that their rights would be protected and said that those caught buying or selling votes would be prosecuted.

According to him, the electoral commission has put mechanisms in place to address vote buying and selling which was widespread during the July governorship election in Ekiti State. In his address, the Executive Director of HFDI, Mr. Aremu Akinyele, said the workshop was organised to sensitise, educate and mobilise women to participate in the election. He said the campaigns would be implemented in 18 local government areas with records of low participation of women in voting.

On his part, the NDI Manager, Mr. Ben Aga, said the sensitisation exercise is aimed at educating women and stakeholders on the need for free and fair election. The state chairman of Social Democratic Party, (SDP) Dr. Bayo Faforiji, said his party would give priority consideration to women that have interest in elective posts.

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