INEC dismisses reports suggesting Nigerians can vote without PVC
CSOs uncover ‘84,000 underage voters’ in Plateau register
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has dispelled reports claiming Nigerians registered by the agency can cast ballots in the 2023 elections without presenting Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) at polling units.
Yakubu made the clarification at an ongoing induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Lagos. The event was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The INEC chairman said the reports, which began trending last week, are misleading and contradict provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, specifically, Section 47:1, which reads: “A person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter card to a presiding officer for accreditation at the polling unit in his constituency in which his name is registered.”
His reaction came against the backdrop of arguments that Nigerians should be allowed to vote without PVCs since the newly introduced Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) can validate voters without physical presentation of cards at polling units.
He clarified: “Nobody can vote without the PVC. The position of the law is, therefore, clear. The PVC is a necessary requirement for voting.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of INEC registered civil society organisations (CSOs), under the auspices of Saving Our Votes, said it uncovered about 84,000 underage persons in Plateau State’s voter register.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition at a press conference, in Abuja, yesterday, Stafford Jedidiah Bisong of Intercontinental Leadership Initiative lamented that the register is replete with the underage, including persons below five years.
According to Bisong, findings also revealed multiple registrations in Wase, Kanam, Kanke in Jos North and Sharabutu in Riyom Council.
Urging INEC to clean up the register in Plateau State and in the entire country, he added: “While we applaud technological advancement in the electoral process, INEC should find solutions in creating a seamless process for PVC collection, as the current process is not as effective as required.”