• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Edo residents decry difficulty in collecting PVCs

Residents in Edo State who visited some of the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for collection of their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have expressed dissatisfaction with the process.

The prospective voters described the process which began on Monday, December 12, 2022, as slow, difficult and called on the electoral body to up their game to enable Nigerians beat the deadline and exercise their franchise in the 2023 elections.

Although checks by BusinessDay at the commission’s office in Oredo local government area on Tuesday in Benin City, indicated that the ongoing exercise was greeted with huge turnout of aspiring voters, there were unsatisfactory remarks over the harrowing experiences occasioned by low workforce as well as the unavailability of voter cards.

While some new registrants were able to collect their PVCs with little or no hassles, others were told to return to the office in a few weeks’ time as their cards were not yet available for collection.

But responding to the complaints, Timidi Wariowie, head, voter education and publicity, Edo State office of INEC, said in most cases the cards are invalidated due to multiple registrations, assuring that the commission will make a report for those with genuine issues and relay to the electoral body’s headquarters in Abuja.

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According to him, “I don’t think it is peculiar to Edo State. We just started on Monday and we have been getting some reports which will be sent to the headquarters in Abuja. The issue of unavailability of cards may be as a result of multiple registrations. Instead of some persons who lost their PVC to approach INEC for a possible reprint, they will go and register again for a new PVC, which will be cancelled.

“There will always be a rush and with time it will be sorted. It is also left for the people to be orderly and organise themselves. For civil servants, we have made provisions to accommodate them and they can get theirs on weekends,” Wariowie added.

Gladys Orobosa, a breastfeeding mother, told BusinessDay that she registered earlier in 2022 but upon getting to the electoral body’s office for PVC collection, she was asked to check back in January 2023.

Likewise, Chukwuka Sandra, a trader, who abandoned her shop to get her PVC, walked out of the commission’s office angrily, saying “I was told to come back by month end that my card is not available.”

For Peter Eguavoen, the process is slow but the electoral body can employ more hands to complement the existing ones so as to decongest the crowd and ensure everyone gets their voter cards in order not to be disenfranchised in the election.

“I registered in June but it seems they are not fully prepared as there are challenges. The process is hectic, but they are trying their best to make the process smooth. We have been under the sun for hours and you can see the crowd here. If you notice, some people came out with their temporary cards because they were advised to come back as their cards were not available,” Eguavoen said.

Sharing her experience, Adesuwa Okungbowa, a medical doctor, said “INEC is doing its best. It is not 100 percent cards that have been produced; some persons were told to check back by month end while others were directed to another local government area to collect theirs. We want a new Nigeria and I will ensure I collect my PVC.”