‘We Want To Vote, Give Us Our PVCs’
FRIGHTENED by the prospect of being disenfranchised in the 2015 general elections, some Nigerians, who have had difficulty obtaining their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), yesterday, stormed the premises of Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Secretariat, to protest what they termed ‘an injustice and denial of civil rights.’
The protesters, who arrived the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) situated in the secretariat from different parts of the area, were stunned to discover that the office was locked, as officials were said to be ‘hoarding the cards and asking for ‘stipends’ to fast track issuance.’
When The Guardian visited the secretariat, agitated protesters were seen loitering around as offices were locked, while others questioned why they were subjected to such injustice as they had frequented the secretariat and other offices more than five times, all to no avail.
One of the protesters, Muhammed Abbas, said he had been at the office as early as 7.30am, and hasn’t been able to get his card, stressing that he is disappointed with INEC and its officials in the secretariat.
He said, “We are aware that the deadline for collection is tomorrow. And we know the commission is carrying out a test run of the smart card reader at Ikeja. But they should at least be at the office to issue out outstanding cards. Most of us work on weekdays and Saturdays are the best days to get our cards, but it seems the officials work at their own convenience.”
Another protester, Stephen Obasi, who stressed that millions of Nigerians would be disenfranchised since the collection of the cards will end tomorrow, cautioned INEC to tow the part of honour and release outstanding PVCs.
According to him, “I registered in 2011 and have my Temporary Voter Card (TVC); but each time, I come to get the PVC, they say it has not come. I want to vote, exercise my right and choose who ever I want to. The treatment given to us here is discouraging. I want to vote. INEC should release my PVC.
Theresa Robinson, another protester, said she has been to the office more than five times and have not gotten her card and people are speculating that about 40,000 other people with the same issue might to get to vote eventually.
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