The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta State, Chief. Rowland Uwa has visted Ika North-East Local Government Areas. The Visit which was made on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, according to the Commissioner, was to sensitize the people of the area on the forthcoming general election for 2011.
Chief Uwa said that voters apathy towards democratic process is due largely to the wrong nomination of candidates from the party who are the flag bearers of such parties. He stated that , if a wrong person is nominated to represent a political party, citizens may not be willing to vote for such person or party, and that the Independent Electoral Commission should not be blamed of that.
On the issue of the elections time table for 2010, Chief Rowland Uwa said that INEC has two provisional dates, one starting from January, 2011 and the other, April, 2011, saying that if the ongoing electoral reform is not concluded in time. INEC will resort to using the 2006 existing electoral law. He however maintained that every preparation for the 2011 election in Delta State has been made ready saying that the voters register was very much intact. He stated further that INEC may be using the National Youth Service Corp members as ad-hoc staff in elections because the corps members will be ready to do good job towards ensuring a free and fair election, especially when they realize that they are doing service to their father land also for future generations, to which they also belong.
Also speaking on rigging of election and other malpractices, Chief Uwa stated that the problem is not with INEC but with the electorates and the politicians. Referring to INEC as a referee in a football competition with politicians and voters as football players and spectators respectively, the Resident Electoral Commissioner said that all hands must be on deck to ensure a free and fair election that will usher in a truly democratic governance.
On the issue of permanent voters cards Chief Uwa advised that those who do not have the permanent voters card to vote during election should use the temporary voter’s card pending when the permanent cards will be made ready. He also advocated for a one-man-one-vote system during the forth-coming election.
He expressed displeasure on the low turn of persons during voter’s registration exercise and urged the chairmen of Ika Local Government Councils, stakeholders and other concerned bodies to educate the people concerning the need for proper registration before the voting dates, in order to meet the United Nations standard.
Those who were present during the visit to Ika North East include traditional rulers of Umunede, Mbiri, and Akumazi, Vice Chairman of Ika North-East Local Government Area, Hon. Benson Oside, who stood for Ika North-East Local Government Chairman, Hon. Festus Iweriebor. The Administrative Secretary, INEC and councilors were also present.
In a related development, the Independent Electoral Commissioner for Delta State, Chief Rowland Uwa has stated that the electoral body will conduct free and fair elections in Ika land that will be credible and acceptable by the people in the two local government areas as well as the generality of Deltans.
Making the remark during a sensitization visit to Agbor, headquarter of Ika South Local Government Area, the INEC chief said that the electoral body although currently undergoing reforms to position itself towards organizing free and fair election come 2011 was happy with its achievement in the country.
Speaking further, Chief Uwa emphasized that the visit to the council area, was to create awareness on voters registration which he noted was a requirement for those agitating for more Wards. While saying that no system was perfect, he charged Nigerians to help the Commission in creating avenues for conducting free and fair elections, "We beg Nigerians to assist us in making our elections work. Conducting election in a country as big as Nigeria requires great efforts from all. We at INEC are not magicians, so we seek the citizens cooperation and on our part, we will not fail you" he stated.
Chief Uwa, furthermore said that the lapses of INEC is less than what is obtained in other sectors of the country, wondering why the electoral body is under severe attack by Nigerians.
On his part, the chairman of Ika South Local Government Area, Hon. Hilary Ibude promised to provide enabling environment for INEC in discharging its duties in the locality.
The chairman represented by his Vice, Hon Festus Izoje advised the electoral body on reforms in order to make credible elections possible and make the people have confidence in the body.
In an interview, Mrs. Comfort Okoh who said that she is an AC member advised INEC to make the votes of the people count in 2011 general elections, saying that "previous elections in the country have been marred by electoral irregularities as a result of the bad conduct of the electoral body."