•Low collection rate trail exercise across Nigeria
Nigerians have besieged the various points located at the various designated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) across the 774 local governments across the country for the collection of their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). This is coming just as reports from across the country have revealed low collection rate across the country. Also, reports suggest that those most would-be voters thronged the centres in large numbers, the collection processes have been largely peaceful across Nigeria.
394, 880 PVCs still uncollected in Osun – REC
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Independent National Electoral Commission in Osun State, Dr. Mutiu Agboke in a chat with our correspondent disclosed that 394, 880 PVCs, are yet to be collected in the state. According to him, the figure captures those who have relocated to other States and those who have passed away since the last registration exercise. Agboke further explained that 1,560,777 PVC have so far been collected by residents of the state. On his assessment so far, he said non collection of voter cards is a big issue for the commission, adding that “Whether we like it or not in Nigeria today non collection of PVC is a big problem for INEC. There has been low turnout of the PVC collection rate, though residents have continued to besiege INEC offices across the state for the collection of their PVCs. In some of the INEC offices visited by our correspondent there was a seamless collection which INEC officials traced to the outcome of the July governorship election held in the state. Some of the residents who spoke said the collection was a stress-free exercise in the state. At the INEC office in Osogbo Local Government Area, a resident, Mr. Idowu Atolagbe who said he came and picked up his card without any delay said the exercise went on well and smoothly. Echoing the same view, another resident, Pastor Agbolade Daniel in Ede North Local Government commended the process, saying he met just four persons ahead of him and they left immediately after collecting their cards.
INEC lauds process in Lagos
The Public Relations Officer of INEC in Lagos, Nike Oriowo hailed the process saying it has been largely peaceful and successful. In a chat with our correspondent, she claimed that residents showed up in large numbers for the PVC collection. Corroborating Oriowo’s claim, a resident Mr. Boluwatife Oluwaseun, who resides in Dopemu axis of the Agege Local Government area said, he was able to collect his PVC on record time. He, however, described the process as rowdy but peaceful.
We are begging residents to pick their PVCs- Adamawa REC
Resident Commissioner of the INEC in Adamawa State, Mr. Hudu Yunusa said his office has adopted advocacy as a tool to woo electorates to collect their PVCs at the nearest local government. Yunusa stated this in a chat with Saturday Telegraph said the extension has however given many electorates the opportunity to collect their PVC’S. He said though the commission is not too impressed with the apathy of the electorates before the extension added that he quickly added that the recent turn out of the electorates is very impressive. Our correspondent who visited Yola North, Yola South, and Girei local government areas saw huge crowds of residents queuing to collect theirs while others were seen laying claim to their cards. Residents interviewed complained of difficulties in accessing their cards while some lacked patience to queue for long for the exercise, complaining of the lukewarm attitude of some INEC staff. A resident, Mallam Abdullahi Bakari bitterly complained of people jumping the queue while some are favoured by the staff, accusing them of being responsible for the rowdiness in some centers.
Residents in last minutes rush to beat deadline in Anambra
Residents of Anambra State are now in a last minute rush to collect their PVCs as they are rushing to the local government areas to beat the deadline. National Vice President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Damian Okeke Ogene expressed worries that Anambra still have unclaimed PVCs adding that it is a show of shame. “It is worrisome that we still have unclaimed PVCs in the South East and especially Anambra state that has a strong Presidential candidate in Mr. Peter Obi,” The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Queen Elizabeth Agwu expressed her displeasure over what she called the foot dragging of people over the collection of the cards.
Collection of PVCs hitch-free in Abia
The collection of PVCs in Abia State has been without incident. Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor Ike Uzochukwu, in a radio programme monitored in Umuahia on Friday said the exercise has been generally smooth and peaceful. The Public Affairs Officer of INEC in Abia State, Mr. Bamidele Oyetunji, said the initial apathy and logistics complaints of residents had been taken care of by concerted efforts of community leaders and traditional rulers. He explained that the exercise had been without hitches adding that at the moment the collection of PVCs was going on simultaneously with the screening of adhoc staff for the election. On the number of PVCs printed and collected, Oyetunji said it was the responsibility of the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja to give such information.
We don’t have data on PVCs collected- Kwara INEC
INEC in Kwara state has maintained that the accurate figures of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collected so far cannot be ascertained because the exercise is still ongoing. The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mallam Attahiru Madami, said his office could also not categorically state the total number of PVCs produced for the state or yet to be collected. He stated that the figure could only be determined at the end of the exercise. Madami said the exercise is going on smoothly across the 16 local government areas of the state. “We have increased the number of staff at all collection centres to make the exercise faster and seamless. “All things being equal, we believe that much ground would have been covered and many prospective voters, if not all, would be able to collect their PVCs by Sunday 29th January, 2023 when collection of PVCs would stop.” Checks by Saturday Telegraph revealed that the situation has improved a bit now, though there are still one or two hiccups, including a large number of people, particularly in the capital city of Ilorin, that are yet to collect their PVCs. A resident, Engr. Iyiola Oni said the exercise in Oro-Ago district in Ifelodun local government area is commendable, adding that much still needed to be done by the INEC. “Some people saw their names in the registered books, but couldn’t see what is most important to them, which is the PVC. I therefore call on INEC to extend the collection date to enable all eligible voters participate in the impending elections.”
Low turnout in Edo as 175,667 cards collected
There is low turnout in collection in the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo State, as a total of 175,667 of the PVCS were collected by intending voters from December 19, 2022 to January 25, 2023. A look at the collection data shows that Ikpoba Okha council area is leading with 37,450; Oredo came second with 25,467, while Igueben came last with 5,045 cards collected. A resident, Mrs. Gladys Idehen who registered at Unit 2, Ward 8 Ikpoba Okha Local Government Areas, said she was at the INEC office on Monday but was told that her PVC was not available. “I am very disappointed that after going to that place from Upper Sakponba, I could not get my PVC. The reason is that I want to vote,as we have seen enough of this mess in this country.” She said, “I went to the Ikpoba Okha Local Government Secretariat, where they said our PVCs will be available, but the workers who were attending to people said my own was not there after searching. Messages sent to the Head of Voters Education of INEC in the state, Mr. Timidi Wariowei were not responded to as at the time of sending this report.
Rush to beat INEC deadline in Ondo
Residents of Ondo State have been trooping out in a last minute rush to beat the deadline of INEC for the collection of their PVCs. During the visit by our correspondent to Akure South Local Government, state capital and some parts of northern senatorial district of the state, INEC personnel at the collecting points were busy attending to residents who came for the collection of the PVC. In a chat with the Public Relation Officer of the commission in the state, Mrs. Dolapo Alo, she noted that the process has been seamless, saying people trickled to the collection points in order to beat the deadline. Speaking with a sexagenarian, Kike Adeyemo, she expressed excitement over the conduct, just as she applauded INEC for extending the exercise and bringing it down to the ward level, an opportunity she saw as ease of the time.
900,000 PVCs uncollected, 355,000 picked in Oyo-INEC
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, Dr. Adeniran Rahmon Tella, has lauded turnout of residents at the ongoing Permanent Voter Card (PVC) collection exercise, saying the exercise has been very impressive, but for control of crowd of people at the various collection centres. According to him, “Some cards are still being expected, but people should exercise some patience” but added that “All eligible registrants will have their PVCs collected.”. The REC said that: “Over 900,000 PVCs are still uncollected. Over 355,000 have been collected.
The expected number of registered voters for 2023 in Oyo State is over 3 million,” the REC said. A visit to some collection centres indicated that residents were rushing to have their PVCs collected as the deadline approached. At the Ibadan North Local Government Secretariat, Agodi, some residents who had lost their slips had to be asked to come back the following day, (not minding where they came from), as many who had theirs intact had to be attended to first. Some had been assisted to check theirs and they came with the handwritten slips.
Some claimed they knew their wards but could not lay their hands on their slips again. Many who had lost their slips had to be told to go to a business centre nearby where they had to pay N200 for their data to be accessed and the slip printed out. Such was taken to the INEC officials who asked them to queue more before they could be attended to.
Collection going on smoothly in Bayelsa
The collection of PVCs has been going on smoothly especially in Bayelsa State. A visit to many of the centres, residents were seen obtaining their PVCs because according to the voters everybody is interested in the 2023 general election. A visit to the metropolis like Agudama, Azikoro village and Famgbe community showed people collecting their PVCs peacefully and easily without any hitch. The Head of Voter Education of INEC in the state, Wilfred Ifogah told Saturday telegraph that when the process started, there were some hitches in all the locations but as the exercise progressed, things became a bit easy.
Ifogah said that the collection in Bayelsa was above average. “People are still coming to get their PVCs especially for those whose names were in the database but their PVCs were not found immediately, they laid their complaints and those complaints were relayed to our head office.
“Some PVCs came in recently. I just hope some of them are lucky enough to have theirs. And as it is, if you don’t have PVCs, you can’t vote. A situation report from Angiama community in Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state Ben Freeman who spoke on behalf of other people because many couldn’t communicate with this reporter well said that for the collection of PVCs, so far INEC officials visited two times. He continued “The manner at which they were distributed on the first day was not encouraging. Somebody may have manipulated those on the ground to distribute the PVCs. “Some people’s names were not found and they were angry but recently, they were well coordinated and a lot of people collected their PVCs.
‘2,011,106 Imo voters have PVCs, ready for election’
As at January 26, 2023, no fewer than 2,011,106 voters in Imo State have collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and are ready for the 2023 general elections. This was deduced from information obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Headquarters in Owerri, the Imo state capital. According to the Commission, at the point of the 2019 general election, no fewer than 1,702,178 voters had their PVCs, and after the election another 52,763 collected their PVCs the same year.
In a conversation with our correspondent, the Public Relations Officer for INEC, Imo state, Dr. Chinenye Chijioke-Osuji said that from July 26th, 2021 to January 26th 2023, old PVCs collected were 114,352 while new PVCs collected by the 2021/2022 new voter registrants stood at 97,039. She added that 44,774 PVCs were within the same period, collected by voters who applied for transfer/update/ replacement of their PVCs. On the number of uncollected PVCs, Dr. Chinenye Chijioke-Osuji said she didn’t have the exact figures at the time.
Her words: “The precise number of uncollected PVCs is not within my reach immediately.” She however stressed that the major challenge faced by the Commission in the course of the exercise was that of insecurity. According to her, insecurity affected deployment and also affected the turnout of eligible voters for the registration exercise in some areas.
“As a matter of fact, insecurity affects a lot of things and for instance, it is because of insecurity that we find many people coming out late to collect their PVCs, something they should have done long before now. “That notwithstanding, the Commission is genuinely committed to seeing that everyone who desires to vote is assisted through the process. On its part, INEC has done its homework well, and shall, within its powers, deliver to Nigerians, a credible and flawless election.”