The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof . Mahmood Yakubu, on Sunday, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration in Ondo State.

Yakubu, who was in the state to assess the exercise, told journalists that as of Saturday, the commission had registered 20,000 fresh Ondo voters ahead of the November 16 governorship election in the state.

INEC commenced the CVR last Monday, May 27, 2024, at various designated centres across the 18 local government areas of the state.

According to the commission, the collection of both the CVR and the Permanent Voter Cards will end on June 5, 2024.

Speaking to journalists at the Akure Airport on Sunday, the INEC chairman described the turnout of Ondo people for the CVR as impressive.

Yakubu said, “I’m basically in Ondo State for two reasons. The first is to observe the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, which started on Monday, the 27th of last month. And we have made tremendous progress based on the daily reports I have been receiving from the state office.

“The second reason is the early assessment of our readiness for the Ondo State governorship election. The election will be held in the next five months, on November 16. From the figure we are seeing on the registration, so far, since the exercise started, there has been a tremendous voter turnout.

“As of yesterday (Saturday), for instance, in Ondo, we have about 20,000 fresh registrants as of Saturday, and we are in the middle of the process. The new registrants do not include transfers, the collection of cards, or the replacement of cards. So, with the enthusiasm demonstrated, particularly by the young men, when you look at the breakdown of the figures, I think there will be no voter apathy in the forthcoming elections.”

Yakubu also reiterated that 17 political parties would be participating in the November 16 governorship poll, saying the parties had conducted their primaries and had submitted the names of their candidates and running mates to the commission.

“Our records are consistent with the records of primaries conducted by political parties and candidates nominated,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Dr. Mutiu Agboke, has said the commission would continue to improve on its use of technology in future elections.

Agboke made the disclosure during a visit to the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council in Osogbo on Friday.

The REC, who declared that no staff of the commission had the capacity to assist any politician during the poll, said election processes had been digitalised right from the point of distribution of election materials.

Agboke said, “Over the years, the commission has been developing. Year in and year out, election in and election out and if you look at it from 2011 till date, the only thing that remains manual is the actual casting of the ballot. The registration is technology, the accreditation is technology, the verification of accreditation is technology, and even the process of uploading the results is technology.

“No INEC staff can assist anybody. Maybe people don’t know that even on election day, deployment of materials is being monitored on various platforms, how materials are moving from the CBN to the local governments. INEC will continue to deepen the process with the use of technology. As I am talking to you, the commission is looking at various options of technology that can be deployed.”

Speaking on the challenges associated with the prosecution of electoral offenders, Agboke said many other agencies of government were involved in the arrest and investigation of offenders, noting that the only role reserved for INEC remains the prosecution.

“The issue of prosecution of election offenders is a very complex situation. By Section 145 or 146 of the Electoral Act, INEC is the one that has a statutory responsibility to prosecute election offenders.

“The IPOs’ (Investigating Police Officer’s) job is to do the preliminary investigation, visit the scene of the crime, get the details of the accused person, put everything together then the file will be duplicated, which means the entire investigation processes are completed and the file is handed over.

“In Osun State, I can tell you now we have one prosecution to carry out,” Agboke said.