Women In Purdah Barred From Voting In Ekiti Saturday LG Polls

electionsThe Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission, EKSIEC, has barred women in purdah from voting in the local government elections slated for this Saturday.

The decision to bar these category of women is due to the need to ensure facial identification during voters’ accreditation.

The chairman of the commission, Kayode Bamisile, said on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital that since card readers would not be used for the elections, the only means of identification would be through the Permanent Voter Cards and facial outlook.

“You cannot vote when we are not seeing your face. We have said we are not using card readers and you have to be identified facially before you can vote in these elections”, Mr. Bamisile said.

“We don’t want to conduct inconclusive elections, so the commission will not deploy card readers because that may slow down the pace of voting”.

The EKSIEC boss stated that there would be restriction of movement between the hours of 8am and 4pm on Saturday, adding that government officials would not be allowed to move about except at their polling units.

Mr. Bamisile also noted that 7,000 ad hoc staff, comprising youth corps members and unemployed graduates, would be deployed as presiding officers in all the 2,195 polling units across the 16 local government areas of the state where the elections would take place.

He also disclosed that five out of 24 political parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party, KOWA, African People Alliance, United Peoples Party and Peoples Party of Nigeria, would be participating in the polls.

The All Progressives Congress had earlier boycotted the elections on grounds that members of the SIEC were card-carrying members of the ruling PDP in the state.

The party’s case filed before the State High Court, which sought to stop the SIEC from going ahead with the council polls, was struck out on Monday.

Mr. Bamisile assured that measures would be in place to check underage voting, adding that the commission had taken delivery of non-sensitive materials and that the materials would arrive on Thursday for delivery and distribution in the presence of representatives of political parties.

“We are assuring that we will do our best not to fail Ekiti people. We are not going to be biased. The accreditation will take place between 8am and 12 noon, while voting will be between 12pm and 4pm”, he said.

Mr. Bamisile also said the elections would be monitored by accredited observers from the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria Union of journalists, Association of Women Christians and other non-governmental organizations.