The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2022, and February 18 for the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
in a statement by the National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, over the weekend, says that, “The Commission has fixed Monday 12 December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 local government offices of the commission throughout the Federation.”
According to him, the commission has resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 registration areas/wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 15th January 2023.
He urged those who are unable to collect their PVCs at the local government offices of the commission can do so at the registration areas/electoral wards.
He task all eligible and valid voters who had registered to collect their PVCs from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays. In a related development, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission is already working to resolve election result issues that may arise from blind network spots.
Revealed that those whose permanent voter cards, PVCs, were destroyed following incessant attacks on the commission’s offices across the country are assured of voting in the 2023 general elections, as INEC has promised to reprint the PVCs.c
Further disclosed that the commission would be meeting with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday, on mobile network issues that might affect transmission of results. Also assured Nigerians not to fear about the effectiveness of result transmission in the 2023 general elections using the BVAS.
“INEC has identified blind spots (where there is poor or no networks) and we are working to make sure there won’t be any problem. We are working with the NCC to make sure we transmit from blind spots. They are the network regulators and they will be very vital to that. We are making sure and working hard so that we transmit freely all around the country. Those whose Permanent Voters’ Cards are burnt will vote if they apply for a new card. We will reprint those cards and the owners can vote. This also covers those who have lost their PVCs.
“Every PVC has a Voter Identification Number, VIN. INEC will retrieve the VINs and will quickly reprint the burnt/damaged cards to enable the affected voters to vote. Yes, they will be able to vote. We are determined and committed, and with the support of everybody, not only the security agencies, we will conduct credible elections in all parts of the country in 2023 and subsequently,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega has warned against weaponisation of ethnicity and religion by politicians ahead of the 2023 general election. He said religious and traditional rulers must check their conscience and not allow their domain to be used for political gains by those he called reckless politicians. Jega who spoke at annual summit of political parties organised by the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
“Nigeria political parties need to reorganize themselves for their primary responsibility, not only in promoting their interest, but also mobilising the citizens around those interests. They also have to improve their recruitment process because candidates are recruited to fit into election largely on cash and carry basis rather than on a careful assessment of character, competence and integrity as well as fielding people who can be responsible when they get into office ad who can respond the needs and aspirations of the people.
“That is why we have to tell the truth to the political parties hoping that many of them will hear this, think deeply and do the needful. Unfortunately, the reckless political class does not engage citizens on substance. They don’t engage based on ideas or ideology and realistic programmes. All they do is to mobilise religion and ethnicity and other primordial identities to create an ‘us VS them’ identity.
“While it may appear as if it was a strategy for winning election, it has now become weaponised because is is leading to all sorts of terrible ethnic and religious violent clashes. May be our religious leaders also need to do alot of soul searching to prevent these reckless politicians from further weaponising religion and ethnicity,” he said.
The commission has accused politicians of constantly devising means of sabotaging efforts which would make the electoral process in the country credible.
Also, expressed concern over the increasing level of insecurity in the country, especially those targeted at its property and electoral materials to desist from such act.