The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it is participating in the 2018 Carnival Calabar street party as part of its Voter Education and Publicity, VEP, campaign, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Cross River, Dr Frankland Briyai, made the disclosure in Calabar on Friday during an interaction with journalists.
Mr Briyai said that the commencement of the event was part of the commission’s measures to sensitise members of the public on their civic responsibilities.
‘‘This is the third time that we are participating in the Carnival but this year’s event is very crucial because of the 2019 election which comes very close.
‘‘It is part of our responsibility to educate and enlighten the public on their civil responsibilities ahead of the elections.
‘‘What they need to do and what they should not do before, during and after the elections.
‘‘For example, they should not sell their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) because these are their tickets to vote for the candidate of their choice.
‘‘Also they should put their PVCs in their wallet to avoid damaging it; they should come out to vote and avoid violence after voting,’’ Mr Briyai said.
The commissioner also disclosed that over 70 per cent of the PVCs of people who registered in the state had been delivered and distributed to all the INEC offices in the 18 local government areas of the state.
‘‘So far, over 70 per cent of the PVCs for the state have been collected and we hope that before the February elections, all others will be available for collection.
‘‘I, therefore, use the opportunity of the carnival to appeal to those that are yet to collect their PVCs to visit any of INEC offices in the Local Government Areas where they registered to collect them,’’ he said.
Mr Briyai described Carnival Calabar as a globally recognised event, hence the commission decided to join the street party as a non-Competitive Band in form of public enlightenment exercise.
He enjoined the electorate to take advantage of INEC’s participation in the carnival to ensure free, fair and violence-free elections in the state.
Also speaking, Oluwole Uzi, Director of VEP in INEC, said the participation of INEC in the Carnival Street party was to take voter education to the people.
Mr Uzi said it was part of the commission’s policy to integrate voter education into the socio-cultural, religious and sporting activities of the people.
NAN reports that over seven different bands are participating in the Carnival Calabar street party.