Communities Lament INEC’s Shoddy Handling Of PVC
. Fear Heightens On Alienation Of Eligible Voters
. INEC Says All Cards Will Be Ready
BARELY two weeks to the general elections, millions of eligible voters could be disenfranchised if the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), across the country does not improve.
Though the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decentralised the distribution of the cards across ward levels, to enhance access to persons yet to collect their cards, investigation reveals that there are still series of challenges ranging from loss of data; technical hitches; poor logistics and data collection, among other lapses, that have frustrated some Nigerians. If the situation persists, it may be difficult for some eligible voters to vote.
Communities and rural areas are the worst hit by this development. It has being the same awful tales across the six geo-political zones of the country. From Lagos to Ogun, Anambra, Edo, Abia, Abuja, Kaduna and other states across the country, it has being the same old story. Nigerians have been having terrible experiences to share. This loss of confidence has led to serious outcry by the electorate, whose efforts at obtaining the PVC were futile till date.
The INEC data showed that few voter cards had been delivered to Borno State, the region worst hit by Boko Haram insurgency.
It was revealed that across the country, 38.8 million voters have retrieved their cards, out of the 54.3 million that the commission produced as at the end of last year.
The most prevalent are people with Temporary Voter’s Cards (TVCs), but whose names were not found in the PVC register; those who registered and still waiting for their PVCs; and those yet to be registered.
The commission said it has not yet finished printing all the cards that voters will need to present at polling stations.
At one of the collection centres visited by The Guardian last week, an aggrieved man, Mr. Gabriel Adesanya, whose name was misspelled told The Guardian that after several complaints to the officials, when it was time for him to collect his PVC, they told him to swear an affidavit, which got him angry.
He noted that there have been several complaints based on errors that may make it impossible for them to get their PVC, despite the efforts put in to get registered.
In another centre, a woman told The Guardian that she was told that her card was not ready. She added that she was asked to register in the last exercise when she detected that her name was listed as one of those whose name were deleted due to loss of data in the 2011 registration. She said even the people they registered together have not also received theirs.
When The Guardian spoke with the INEC spokesman, Kayode Idowu on phone, he allayed fears on the readiness of the cards. According to him, “all the cards will be ready before the election. It is left to the people to go and collect them.”
He noted that the clamour to revert to temporary vote card (TVC) to vote during the poll couldn’t work, because there are so many challenges with it.
Idowu said the commission had detected multiple registrations by some people, which may not be controlled with the use of TVC and that the TVC cannot be read by card readers, like PVC.