Inec may extend PVC collection deadline until February 11 because 8m cards remain uncollected

NIGERIA'S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) may extend the deadline for collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs) until February 11 due to the large number of uncollected documents by members of the public.


On February 16, Nigerians go to the polls to elect a new president and under the dictates of the Electoral Act, all voters must have a PVC to vote. However, Inec has been frustrated by the fact that over 8m of the country's 84m voters have not collected their PVCs, so are looking at extending the collection deadline from the original date of February 8.


Speaking yesterday at the National Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja, Inec chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said his commission would take the decision to review the deadline after a meeting with resident electoral commissioners in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory FCT. He said the meeting became necessary in view of genuine complaints from states with the highest number of unclaimed PVCs.


Professor Yakubu said: "I want to assure stakeholders that Inec is prepared for the election and let me assure the stakeholders and the nation that smart card readers will be deployed in the 2019 general elections. The next issue is voter register and permanent voter cards. We have a lot of complaints from citizens, however, the complaints are coming from those who have damaged their PVCs and require replacements, as well as those who applied for transfer and relocation but the cards have not been found.


“Some of you will ask that the last day for the correction of PVCs is tomorrow which is Friday, the 8th of November. The commission is going to meet today after this forum and the next meeting we are going to hold is with security agencies and where it is necessary we will review the arrangement for the collection of PVCs, so no Nigerian is going to be disenfranchised for the fault of his or fault of hers."


He further disclosed that about 148 observer groups have been accredited for the elections and would be allowed to move around polling units across the country on election day. Professor Yakubu added that the resident electoral commissioners have been mandated to meet with police commissioners in their respective states to decide on the deployment of security and equally liaise with state chapters of Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers to implement the earlier signed memoranda of understanding for the movement and distribution of election staff and materials to various pulling units before the arrival of voters on election day.


Mohammed Adamu, the acting inspector-general of police disclosed that the six deputy inspector-generals of police would be deployed to the six geo-political zones along with other top senior officers to beef up security on election day.  He further disclosed  that there would  be no police escort for very important personalities to pulling units but Inec state and local government offices, collation centres, NYSC members lodges and public utilities will be protected by armed police personnel, while three unarmed security personnel will man each polling unit on the day of election.


Mr Adamu added: “In the tactical unit, over 24,000 mobile police personnel will be deployed, 4,000 counter-terrorism personnel will be deployed and about 8,000 special protection personnel will be deployed. I work tirelessly with Inec ,with the office of the national security adviser and other security agencies to make sure that 2019 election is done in a secure manner, in a professional manner, in  a way that a level playing field is provided for every political party and to indicate that all the security agencies will be impartial in the conduct of the 2019 general elections."