About 100 days to the conduct of governorship election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, on Wednesday, said it has suspended the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise ahead of the election.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Dr Rufus Akeju, who disclosed this in Akure, Ondo State capital, while addressing newsmen on the notice of election in the state, said there will not be a registration of new voters, distribution of Permanent Voters Card, transfer of registration and replacement of lost or defaces PVC.
Akeju who said the ravaging COVID -19 pandemic responsible for the development while the measures were to mitigate the new challenge thrown up by Coronavirus disease but said the Commission is poised to conduct a credible, free, fair, safe and successful gubernatorial election in the state.
According to the INEC boss, about 1,822, 346 voters have registered in the state, with 1,478,460 have collected their PVC while 372,888 PVC had not been collected.
“It is extremely important for me to inform you that the Commission has suspended the Continuous Voters Registration exercise and the implication is that, the window of opportunity for new registrant to register, distribution of PVC, transfer of registration and replacement of lost or defaced PVC has been shut for the meantime owing to the ravaging pandemic,” Akeju said.
He disclosed that INEC in conformity with the scheduled election timetable for Ondo State has released the notice of Election as required by law.
According to the timetable, all the parties must, between July 2 and June 25, conduct their primaries to pick their candidates for the election.
“In accordance with the election timetable released by INEC for the conduct of the gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the conduct of the political party primaries shall take place between Thursday, July 2nd and Saturday, July 25th, 2020.”
He said INEC has engaged political parties and other stakeholders through virtual meetings on conducting successful elections and finding solutions to challenges occasioned by the pandemic.
The INEC boss, however, appealed to politicians to play the game by the rules, noting that some politicians have started campaigning and posting of posters, which is against the rules of the game.
He said: “Any form of campaign or posting of campaign posters before July 13 is against the rules and I implore them not to jump the gun.
“On our part as Election Management Body (EMB) as we prepare to succeed in the conduct of the gubernatorial election in the state.
“We shall be fair to all and refuse to be partisan, rather, we shall continue to focus on our mandate guided by the Nigerian Constitution and Electoral Act as well as by our vision, mission and values.
“We shall continue to tap into the tremendous goodwill, support and maximum cooperation of all our stakeholders so that the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state come Saturday, October 10th 2020 will be free, fair, credible, conclusive, acceptable and successful.”
He also warned all the political parties to comply with rules that regulate public gatherings to guide against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.