A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has asked INEC to take advantage of the shift in polls to embark on rapid distribution of the remaining Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to all registered voters.
This is contained in a statement from the Secretary-General on Sunday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on the postponement of Nigeria's elections, initially scheduled for February 14 and 28.
The statement was made available to the media by Oluseyi Soremekun, National Information Officer, UN Information Centre in Nigeria.
Ban, in the statement, pointed out that the rapid distribution of PVCs to all eligible voters was imperative to ensure credible polls.
He urged, “the electoral authority to take all necessary measures, such as the rapid distribution of the remaining PVCs, to enable all eligible voters, including those displaced, to exercise their right to vote in a timely manner. “
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“This is imperative for ensuring a credible, free and transparent election,” the statement said.
The statement also said that the UN scribe had spoken in a telephone conversation with President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday over the postponement of the election, and also to Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
He had encouraged both Jonathan and opposition candidate Buhari to respect the Abuja Accord they adopted and which commits them to non-violence, peace and tolerance during the elections.
"He looks up to Nigeria's authorities to uphold their commitment to ensure a violence-free election and put in place adequate security measures, so that citizens across the country are able to exercise their civic duty safely and without fear,'' the statement added.
The secretary-general expressed the hope that the forthcoming elections would meet the high expectations of the Nigerian people and the international community.
"The successful conduct of these polls would strengthen Nigeria's democracy and enable the country to continue to play a leading role in the promotion of regional peace and security," Ban said.