From Nnamdi Ofonye, Owerri
To ensure that citizens of Imo state participate actively in the scheduled continuous voter registration exercise by INEC, the state government has announced that it is mandatory for all citizens between the ages of 18 and above to have a voter card or face the state government’s sanctions .
Gov. Rochas Okorocha made the pronouncement when the Imo state INEC Resident Electoral commissioner; Prof. Mrs Celina Oko paid him a courtesy call in the government house, Owerri to brief him on the timetable for the exercise and also to solicit for the state government’s support in the area of mobilization of its citizens.
Gov. Okorocha while responding, lamented the nonchalant attitude of Imo people towards registration and electoral matters as evident in the 2011 exercise which indicated that only about 1.6 million people registered, arguing that such figure is not a true reflection of the voting population of the state.
He went further to add that in line with the seriousness attached to all electoral matters by the present administration, the government declared all the days marked out by INEC for the registration exercise as work free days in the state. Also, all schools, shops, and businesses must remain closed till after 1pm daily to enable people register enmasse.
Governor Okorocha however appealed to INEC at both the federal and state level to ensure that all machineries are put in place to avoid the lapses witnessed in the past especially in cases of late or no arrival of materials or any form of sabotage by officials.
The collection of the permanent voters card PVC is slated to commence on the 7th to 9th November while the continuous voters registration exercise is scheduled for 12th through 17th November 2014 across the state.