The Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Saturday, said the commission would soon make its stand known on calls for extension of June 30 deadline for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
Yakubu disclosed this while addressing youths in Lagos State at a Mega Musical Concert on ‘Youth Vote Count’, organised by INEC in collaboration with some partners to awaken youth consciousness toward participating in politics and governance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the awareness campaign held at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) aim to mobilise and get youths registered in the CVR.
The exercise started on Monday with the deployment of 50 INEC Voter Enrolment Devices (IVED) to capture youths in the CVR, culminated in the concert which featured several youth-inspiring musicians, comedians and celebrities.
The campaign was organised by the electoral umpire in collaboration with the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), International Press Centre (IPC) and other partners.
The INEC chairman noted that he was aware that the youth wanted their votes to count with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), and assured them that they would get their PVCs while their votes would also count in the 2023 elections.
“I want to assure you that you will have your PVCs. We have new machines which will be deployed all over Lagos from next week.
“I know you want to hear from INEC if we are ending the registration on June 30. We have heard you loudly and clearly, You want time until all Nigerians register for PVCs: you will hear from INEC very soon on that.
“You want to hear from INEC if you register and vote: will your vote count? Your votes will count,” he said.
NAN reports that at this point, the shout of “no rigging, no rigging” filled the air, chorused by teeming youths at the event, the development which disrupted a bit, the address of the INEC chairman.
Responding to them, Yakubu said: ”We heard you loudly and clearly. I listened to you, I listened to you very clearly. Once you collect you PVCs, please go and vote. Vote and not fight.
“Let me assure and reassure you, your votes will count.”
Assessing the success of the Youth Vote Count campaign which started on Monday, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos state said the commission’s goal of mobilising huge number of youths for the CVR had been achieved.
Agbaje, who said that about 10,000 youths were captured within the five-day exercise, said more voter enrolment machines had been deployed to the 20 local government areas of the state to bring more youths into the voting population.
Decrying that many youths had waited till the 11th hour before presenting themselves for registration, Agbaje urged them to move to their various local government areas to register before the expiration of the CVR on June 30.