PVCs: 6.7 Million Uncollected In 17 States, INEC Targets Markets

No fewer than 6.7 million Nigerians have yet to collect their permanent voter cards less than eigth weeks to the general elections.

Data obtained from the state offices of the Independent National Electoral
Commission on Tuesday revealed that 6.7 m PVCs were locked up in INEC safes across 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The INEC had announced that the collection window for PVCs will commence December 12,2022 and end on January 22.

The INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed in a statement that with effect from January 6 -15,2023 the collection of the PVCs will be devolved to the ward level after which collection would be moved to the local government areas.

The PUNCH reports that past elections were marred by voters’ apathy.

During the 2019 general elections, the INEC said it had about 82.3m registered voters, however only 28.6m voted in the polls which resulted in the re-election of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) who polled 15m to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar, who scored 11.2m votes.

During the Lagos governorship elections, less than 2m voted in the poll which was won by Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC. He garnered 739,445 votes to defeat Jimi Agbaje of the PDP who got 206,141 votes.

Data from the Lagos state INEC office revealed that as of December 29, a total of 1,693,963 PVCs remained uncollected. This was disclosed in a document tagged ‘INEC Lagos PVCs Reports.’

It stated, “Old PVCs received from headquarters – 6,570,291; old PVCs collected up till December 29, 2022 – 5,653,330. Total uncollected old PVCs – 916,961; New PVCs received from headquarters – 940,200; New PVCs collected as at December 29, 2022 – 163,198.

“Total uncollected New PVCs –777,022; Overall total PVCs received from headquarters- 7,510,491; Overall PVCs collected as at December 29, 2022 -5,816,528; Overall PVCs uncollected 1,693,963.’’

The INEC Director of Voter Education, Lagos State, Mrs Adenike Tadeshe, told The PUNCH that about 14,000 people collect their voter cards daily, noting that the commission would soon take the PVCs distribution to the wards.

She said, “I will not say we have a huge number of uncollected PVCs. Looking at the figures, as of December 29, 2022 we have given out 5,816,528 PVCs, so we are now left with 1,693,963 and we want to put in record that on a daily basis in Lagos State, we give out about 14,000 PVCs so the number will keep reducing.

‘’Now, by January 15 and 16, we will be taking the cards to all the 245 wards in Lagos State and from there to the local government areas, so this will bring the cards closer to the people for collection.”

Findings indicate that the FCT has 460,643 uncollected PVCs as of December 24.
collection, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, described it as a dangerous precedent, which he said smacked of mischief by the All Progressives Congress regime.

He said, “It is a confirmation that we are tilting towards a dangerous precedent. The fact that less than six weeks to the election; over 7m PVCs have not been collected leaves much to be desired.

‘’It is the responsibility of the government to enlighten the people and I think they haven’t done enough to encourage people to collect their PVCs, but in some ways, I smell mischief. They (government) can as well make use of these voter cards or use them to cover their tracks.’’

According to INEC’s Head of Voter Education in Cross River, Tonia Nwobi, 409,604 PVCs were still in the custody of the commission as December 16.

Giving the breakdown, she stated, ‘’They include 90, 511 PVCs uncollected from 2019; 8,752 uncollected PVCs from fresh registration of 2021/2022; 61,939 uncollected PVCs from 2021/2022 transfer and 248,402 unclaimed PVCs received on December 2, 2022.’’

Other states with a huge catalogue of voter cards include Oyo, 700,000; Kwara, 120,602; Borno, 80,117; Ogun, 400,000 and Edo, 661,783, Kogi, 160,966 and Imo, 300,000.

The Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Usolor Mark, declined to disclose the number of outstanding cards, but said the commission was engaging with women, youths, people living with disabilities and the aged people in the communities on PVCs collection.

Asked about the level of PVCs collection in the state, he said, ‘’We were expecting that people may have travelled home and they are not collecting, but lo and behold, they are collecting their PVCs from the various local government area offices of INEC in Rivers State.”

Speaking on the huge outstanding voter cards in the state, the Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Edo state, Timidi Wariowie, explained that the available 661,783 PVCs comprised the old and new cards which had yet to be picked up as of December 31.

According to him, 409,832 were old uncollected PVCs while 251,951 were new voter cards.

“The old uncollected PVCs were 425,239 but 15,407 had been collected remaining the balance of 409,832. Also, the new PVCs received were 289,931 but 37,980 had been collected remaining the balance of 251,95,” he said.

Wariowei further disclosed that 460 PVCs were collected on January 1 across the local government areas in the state.

He explained that the collection of PVC is going on daily including Saturdays and Sundays (excluding public holidays) from 9am to 3pm at INEC offices across the 18 local government areas of the state.

“The old uncollected PVCs were 425,239 but 15,407 had been collected remaining the balance of 409,832. Also, the new PVCs received were 289,931 but 37,980 had been collected remaining the balance of 251,95,” he said.

Wariowei further disclosed that 460 PVCs were collected on January 1 across the local government areas in the state.

He explained that the collection of PVC is going on daily including Saturdays and Sundays (excluding public holidays) from 9am to 3pm at INEC offices across the 18 local government areas of the state.

Commenting on the apathy to the PVCs collection, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ibrahim Abdullahi, described it as a dangerous precedent, which he said smacked of mischief by the All Progressives Congress regime.

He said, “It is a confirmation that we are tilting towards a dangerous precedent. The fact that less than six weeks to the election; over 7m PVCs have not been collected leaves much to be desired.

‘’It is the responsibility of the government to enlighten the people and I think they haven’t done enough to encourage people to collect their PVCs, but in some ways, I smell mischief. They (government) can as well make use of these voter cards or use them to cover their tracks.’’



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