With a few weeks to the presidential election in Nigeria, some registered voters are lamenting the inability of the Independent National electoral (INEC) to issue them with their Permanent Voters Card (PVCs).
INEC ended the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) across the country last August 31, with a promise that the last batches of PVCs would be ready for collection by December 2018.
However, findings by BusinessDay, show that several Nigerians, especially those who registered in the last batch may be disenfranchised, due to the inability of INEC to resolve the bottleneck encountered in the distribution and collection of the PVCs.
A middle age man, Adeoye Samuel, who is a resident of Aguda Surulere, said officials of the commission informed him that his PVC might be ready for collection in the first week of February after several visits to the commission’s offices in Surulere since the beginning of January 2019.
“I have been to INEC office in my area about three times this year, and all they are telling me is that I should come back. Some of my friends who registered early have collected, but I am among those who registered just before they ended the registration in August, but I expected the card to be read by now,” he said.
“The last time, I went to their office I was told to come back first week of February. I hope the card would be ready before the general elections the way they are going about it,” Adeoye said.
Similarly, a businessman, Emeka Obasi, said he had visited INEC offices in the state twice since last December to pick up his card but was informed that the PVCs would be ready by end of January.
“I was told to come and pick my PVC in December, but I when I went there; I was told January and I went there last week and again was informed that the PVC were not ready. I must get my PVC and vote in the elections,” Obasi said.
Investigations by BusinessDay reveal that similar complaints were reported by registered voters in some states. The affected individuals urged the commission to provide their PVCs so they can take part in the forth-coming general elections.
When contacted the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of INEC Lagos office, Akinbiyi Olufemi, disclosed that the commission had received about 99 percent of the PVCs from the commission’s head office in Abuja which would be distributed to local government offices across the state.
Olufemi reaffirmed the commission’s readiness to conduct a free and fair election, urging Nigerians to cooperate with the commission and turn out for the elections.
“We are on top of the situation,” he said, “Right now, we have some new batches of PVCs that were sent a few days ago from the head office in Abuja and they would be distributed to our offices across local government areas in Lagos state. We have 99 percent of the cards we believe that before long the rest would be ready.”
Efforts to reach Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Press Secretary to INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, proved abortive, as calls to his telephone were not answered.