The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami, has said that 43,695 voters collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) in Patigi ahead of the scheduled by-election into the vacant state assembly seat.
The REC disclosed this on Wednesday in Ilorin during a meeting with the eight political parties that would participate in the by-election and members of Inter-Agencies Committee on Election Security (IACES).
Eight political parties have so far signified interest to take part in the March 14, by-election into Patigi state constituency.
The political parties are All Progressives Congress (APC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), People Democratic Party (PDP) and New Nigeria People Party (NNPP).
Others are the Action People Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA), African Action Congress (AAC) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
Attahiru-Madami promised to be open, transparent and give all the political parties participating in the by-election a level playing ground.
According to the REC, there are 52,233 registered voters in Patigi state constituency, while 51,476 PVCs were received from INEC headquarters.
He added that a total of 43,695 PVCs were collected, leaving 7,781 uncollected PVCs which he said were kept in the vault of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in Ilorin.
The REC also said that the by-election would be conducted in 105 places made up of 10 Registration Areas, 59 polling units and 46 Voting Points.
He commended the leadership of political parties in the state for the success of 2019 general elections.
Attahiru-Madami also expressed his gratitude and that of INEC staff to the political parties’ leaders in Kwara for the conduct of the 2019 elections adjudged the best in the country.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to the participating political parties to live up to the Kwara State motto os ‘State of Harmony’.
“We should conduct ourselves in a peaceful manner, especially during Campaign/Election Day and after Election.
“Please no violence, no use of thugs. You all know INEC do not have thugs, Security Agencies do not have thugs, but Political Parties.
“If you decide as it was in 2019 that you will not use thugs for violence, then you are guaranteeing a peaceful election,” the REC added.
Attahiru-Madami promised that the commission, under his leadership, would never compromise election and would give a level playing field to all the political parties.
“We need peace before, during and after the election and only the political parties can guarantee that.
“All eyes/ears will be on this by-election in Kwara as Nigerians will like to know that our performance in 2019 General Election was not a fluke,” he added.
DCP Abimbola Sokoya, who represented the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Kayoye Egbetokun, said maintenance of law and order as well as securing lives and properties of the people were the duty of the police.
He said police has carried out pre-election security surveillance in Patigi in preparation for the March 14 by-election.
Sokoya appealed to the eight political parties taking part in the by-election to avoid anything that can degenerate to crisis during their campaigns.
Speaking on behalf of the political parties, the state Chairman of APC, Mr Theophilus Oyebiyi, extolled the openness of the REC.
“On behalf of the other political parties, I want to extol your openness, unbiased conduct and integrity during the 2019 General Elections,” he said.
Oyebiyi pledged the cooperation of all the eight political parties to ensure free, fair, credible and acceptable by-election.
NAN reports that the meeting was attended by representatives of the eight political parties, heads or representatives of all security agencies in the state and INEC HODs.