The Senate Minority Leader, Biodun Olujimi, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tackle the menace of underage voters in order to ensure the credibility of the general elections in 2019.
In a letter dated November 18, addressed to the INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, Mrs Olujimi also urged that the commission prevent those with sinister motives from truncating the democratic process next year.
The senator’s letter is coming as political parties and their candidates hit the streets with their campaign, following the lifting of campaign embargo by the commission.
Mrs Olujimi, who represents Ekiti South in the Senate, expressed concerns over the recent reports of underage registration and the illegal issuance of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) allegedly to non-Nigerians in some parts of the Northern states of Nigeria.
“INEC is urged to be alive to its statutory responsibility as an unbiased umpire as the 2019 electioneering campaign for various elective positions commence on 18th November 2018,” she said.
“Any form of misconduct by way of hate speech, unethical comments or statements in any form of media especially the social media by any of the contestants or their apparatus should be promptly condemned and sanctioned.
“The events that led to the June 12, 1993 saga are still very fresh in the minds of the Nigerian citizenry. Therefore, INEC is hereby urged to be more responsive to its responsibility and purge itself from political partisanship by taking the necessary proactive measures.
“The process of PVC collection and other areas of Voters education and enlightenment should be vigorously pursued to obtain optimal results of increased voters awareness and to ensure no one is disenfranchised.
“More importantly, the issues of ‘underage’ registration, irregular and illegal registration of Non-Nigerians as witnessed in previous elections must be properly addressed to exonerate this noble establishment, INEC of several allegations of conspiracy and connivance to rig elections.”
Mrs Olujimi, who is also the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, added that INEC should make the various political parties to be aware and constantly reminded of their responsibilities and obligations to the voting public in their campaign processes.
She said the INEC should not tolerate any form of distortion or misconduct by way of errors of commission or omission in the electioneering process.
“It is hoped that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, would ensure that it does the needful towards a hitch free elections come 2019,” she added.