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NigeriaDecides2023

Buried PVCs probe report out soon – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the report of the investigations into the alleged burial of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in some parts of the country will be released soon.

Festus Okoye, INEC national commissioner and chairman of information and voter education disclosed this at a two-day capacity workshop for INEC Press Corps members on critical issues in the Electoral Act, 2022 and the processes, innovations, preparations for the 2023 General Election in Lagos on Monday.

There was a video which went viral some months ago which claimed that PVCs were found buried in Imo state, for which INEC ordered investigations into the claims. Responding to enquiry into the probe Okoye said: “The chairman (Mahmood Yakubu) has made it clear that we were going to investigate that particular issue and that we were going to make our finding public.

“The chairman will make the finding of the commission public as it relates to PVCs allegedly found in appropriate locations.”

The INEC spokesperson while also responding to the perception that incidence forms may still be used for 2023 general elections, said the usage of the forms in Nigeria electoral process was dead and buried. Okoye advised people to look at how to advance in the usage of technology in the country’s electoral process and not to move backward.

Read also: INEC cries out as majority of Rivers people shun PVC collection

“We have retired the Smart Card Readers and incidence forms and nobody can resurrect it. People should leave some of the things that we have already buried.

“We should now be talking about how we advance. We are advancing. Technology moves forward. Technology does not move backwards,” Okoye said.

He also said, though the commission has the capacity to adopt electronic voting but that cannot be done until after the 2023 general election due to paucity of funds and the current economic situation of the country.

On the disenfranchisement of essential workers, Okoye said: “The commission is looking at this particular situation to see whether it is possible to adopt the framework that we have in some other countries where people on essential services vote may be a week before election and their votes are warehoused and then added up to the general votes on election day.

He also denied the allegation that some of the Non-governmental Oragnisations (NGOs) being accredited as election observer groups were owned by INEC officials. Okoye said that as a product of civil society and former chairman of Transition Monitoring Group for four years, he knew the process and criteria involved in accrediting any organisation for election observation.

He said that INEC has already published applications calling on NGOs and CSOs as well as international organisations interested in monitoring 2023 general elections to apply.

The National commissioner said no organisation would be accredited without being registered by Cooperate Affairs Commission (CAC), having bank accounts and credibility in monitoring elections.

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