Jega appears before Senate today over polls

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The Senate on Tuesday summoned the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, to appear before it on Wednesday(today).

Jega is expected to brief senators on INEC’s readiness for the forthcoming March 28 and April 11 elections.

The senate, which resumed plenary on Tuesday after a 33-day break, took the decision following a motion by its Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba.

Ndoma-Egba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, while presenting the motion asked Jega to come with a card reader for demonstration before the lawmakers.

The Minority Leader, George Akume, who contributed to the motion, suggested that the service chiefs should also be invited since they were blamed by INEC for the postponement of the polls hitherto scheduled for February 14 and 28.

But Senate President David Mark ruled that summoning the service chiefs was not necessary at the moment.

The Senators, through voice vote, approved the invitation of Jega, while agreeing that the invitation of the service chiefs would be determined by Jega’s submission on Wednesday.

INEC has however said that 75.94 per cent or 52,275,367 of the 68,833,476 registered voters in the country have collected their Permanent Voter Cards.

As of February 4 when Jega briefed the Council of State meeting in Abuja, 45, 098, 878 voters had collected their PVCs.

INEC which will deploy 182, 000 card readers for use during the general elections released the fresh figure in Abuja on Tuesday.

A breakdown shows that Nasarawa State is leading other states with 96.29 per cent of the 1,196,583 registered voters having their PVCs.

Coming second is Gombe State where 95.05 per cent of the 1,120, 023 voters had collected theirs.

Jigawa State came third with 93.20 per cent of the 1,831,276 voters receiving their PVCs as of Monday.

Jigawa and Katsina came fourth and fifth respectively.

While the percentage of the registered voters who have collected their PVCs in Jigawa stood at 93.20 per cent from 1,831,276 registered voters, that of Kastina was put at 92.68 per cent.

This figure indicated that 2,620,829 of the 2,827,943 voters had collected their PVCs.

Coming from the rear is Ogun State where only 40 per cent of the registered voters had collected their PVCs.

There are 1,829,534 registered voters in the state but only 747,556 of them had collected their PVCs so far.

In the Federal Capital Territory, only 61.42 per cent of the 881,472 registered voters had also picked their PVCs.

The figure also indicated that in Lagos State which has 5,905,852 registered voters, 3,685,322 which represents 62,40 per cent, have collected their PVCs.

The issue of PVCs was one of the reasons adduced for the shifting of the elections by several groups, including some political parties.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the commission had concluded the training of all ad hoc staff for the elections.

“We finished the training of our ad hoc staff on Thursday,” he said, adding that INEC had taken delivery of 182, 000 tested card readers to be used in 119 polling units across the country during the elections.

Idowu said, “All the card readers are already in the possession of the commission. They have been tested and found worthy. We have 182,000 card readers with us.’’

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