The Independent National Electoral Commission has said Permanent Voter Cards not collected by their owners before February 8 will be kept in ‘quarantine’ in the Central Bank of Nigeria. The commission’s Chairman of Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Friday wondered why those who own the cards had not collected them.
He said, “The reports from different states indicate that many Nigerians have collected their Permanent Voters Cards. Most Nigerians are aware that the commission registered a total of 84, 004,084 eligible voters.
“Out of this number 14, 283,734 million were registered during the Continuous Voters’ Registration. The collection of PVCs is still on and will go on till February 8. Thereafter, the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and keep them in quarantine with the Central Bank of Nigeria and they will remain there till the elections are over.”
Okoye added, “It is difficult to give the exact number of PVCs that have been collected so far. The collection of PVCs is still taking place in the 774 local government areas. After the February 8, 2019 deadline, the commission will recall all uncollected PVCs and give an account of the number collected and the number yet to be collected.
“Nigerians will be informed about the PVC collection data and the commission is committed to a transparent process. We urge Nigerians to approach INEC offices in their LGAs and collect their PVCs.”
Asked how many PVCs had yet to be collected and what INEC was doing to address the situation, the INEC chief said, “The commission has insisted and will continue to insist that registered voters must collect their PVCs personally and there will not be collection by proxy. The commission printed 14, 283,734 million voter cards for new registrants and printed replacement cards for those that lost their voter cards and those whose cards are defaced.”
He said INEC had a consolidated register with a total of 84, 004,084 registered voters, adding that since it was a huge database of registered voters, the commission had done well in registering Nigerians.
“The law provides the period for those that want to change their polling units to do so. The PVCs of these category of persons are different. They must comply with the provisions of the law before they will be cleared to move to new polling units.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that many Nigerians who registered to vote in the forthcoming elections may be disenfranchised due to the challenges facing INEC.
It was learnt many eligible voters who took part in the Continuous Voter Registration were given temporary slips.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that some voters who logged on to INEC’s website to verify their status with using the temporary slips were either told that their registration was invalid or their cards could not be found.
When our correspondent logged on to the website on Thursday to check his status, he got the following result: Sorry, we couldn’t find your details using the data you provided in the form. Please check the data and try again. If you are confident that the data provided is correct, please contact INEC by clicking here.”
A voter, Rosemary Ogbonna, said she had yet to be given her PVC more than five months after she got registered.