PVCs: Over 90,000 uncollected in Cross River, 21, 352 in Lagos – INEC

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Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that more than 90,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are yet to be collected across the 18 local government areas of Cross River, even as it also added that 21, 352 of the cards remain uncollected in Lagos, ahead of the 2023 General Elections in the country.

Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River, Dr. Johnson Alalibo, who gave the hint during a courtesy visit to the governor, Professor Ben Ayade in Calabar, decried the slow response of the people for the collection of PVCs.

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“Since after the recent voter registration exercise commenced, we have been urging the public especially those, who registered to come and collect their PVCs. We have over 90 thousand uncollected cards in Cross River State.

“These numbers are not in Calabar alone, but across 18 local government areas in the state. We have our local government offices opened every day to distribute these PVCs to the people and very soon, we will receive another batch, which we are appealing to the people to come and collect,” Alalibo said.

The INEC REC also harped on the need for strengthened security and peace in the state ahead of the 2023 general election to enable the commission conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent exercise.

“There is no way we can conduct a free and fair election without security. We call on you to use your good office to ensure that we have peace in the state. Peace in the sense that people can move freely to vote for candidates of their choice and also we at the back end of INEC can do our job without intimidation,” Alalibo stated.

He further disclosed that Cross River State now has 3281 polling units from the previous 2,283 in the commission’s effort to enhance easy access of voters to polling units on election days.

Responding, the governor, Professor Ben Ayade assured INEC of peaceful and secured atmosphere across the state before, during and after the 2023 elections.

“I give you that commitment that we will guarantee you free and safe elections. We also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to please honour its pledge too so that we can have free, fair, credible, reliable and dependable elections.

“Government is not going to in any way influence your process, but we want to say that we are available and willing to support you at all times that INEC will so require our services,” Ayade stressed.

Continuing, the Cross River Governor said: “Never before have we had an INEC chairman, who has enjoyed the mutual trust from both the ruling party and opposition parties. This is one chairman, who has conducted his elections and results returned based on what is on ground.

“He is not subject to any inducement. He is subject to God that he serves and I want to say that his name would go down in history as one of the best INEC chairman that we have ever had,” he added.

Meanwhile, the commission has disclosed that about 21, 352 out of the total 34,242 newly printed PVCs for new registrants remain uncollected in Lagos, four months after issue.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lagos State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, who disclosed this, penultimate Wednesday, at the State Level CSO Engagement Visit organised by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), in collaboration with INEC and the EU-Support Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), also said that the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) captured 12,298,944 out of which a total of 6,224,866 were female while male registrants were 6,074,078.

Speaking, Agbaje, who decried the huge number of old and new PVCs lying fallow at INEC offices in the 20 local government areas, said the staggering amount of the PVCs belonged to women, being important stakeholders in elections.

“Permanent Voter Card (PVC) is the sole instrument required from the Voter to participate in an election, it is an important eligibility instrument for voting without which no citizen would be allowed to partake in an election.

“However, the total number of uncollected old PVCs in the state is 928,362 as at 5th Sept. 5, no doubt, the uncollected PVCs for women may be in the neighborhood of 436,451 (47 per cent).

“Meanwhile, the total number of uncollected New PVCs is 21,352 out of 34,242 received PVCs, while the rest  of the new PVCs for the 2021/22 registration exercise is being awaited.

“The implication of this is that the commission is having a staggering number of PVCs that should be collected by the women and other eligible voters to enable them massively participate in the forthcoming 2033 general elections,” Agbaje said.

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