PVC Crisis: Millions To Be Disenfranchised As INEC Appears Ill-prepared For Elections

There are strong indications that millions of registered voters may be disenfranchised in the forthcoming general elections across the federation as Independent National Electoral Commission INEC appears to be in shambles in the area of Permanent Voter’s Card distribution barely eight days to the presidential poll.
Investigations conducted by The Street Journal revealed that in spite of the public holiday declared by some states to enable civil servants collect their Permanent Voters Cards PVCs in readiness for the elections; many qualified potential voters would be unable to vote as they could not get their PVCs ready by the electoral body.
Our Correspondents that visited the various INEC offices in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State on Friday encountered thousands of registered adults who were told point blank that they would not be able vote during the February polls as their Permanent Voters Cards were still missing.
At the Oluyole Estate office of the electoral umpire, hundreds of distraught potential voters were sighted on the queue in the scotching sun waiting patiently to collect the Voters Cards that were nowhere to be found.
Interestingly only one INEC official was on hand to attend to the teeming number of voters that may not be able to have a say in who becomes their leaders through the ballots at the next elections. The INEC official was peeping through the window to avoid being beaten by the sun as he attended to the beleaguered Nigerians who were showing unprecedentedly keen interest in choosing who would rule them in the next democratic dispensation.
INEC-PVC-Ondo
The INEC official who craved for anonymity explained to The Street Journal that hundreds of potential voters would be denied their right to vote as they would not be able to get PVCs for this election for no fault of theirs. He said records of the last registration exercise were missing in INEC; a development that made it practically impossible for the commission to process their PVCs.
For instance, the light skinned middle aged man further explained that out of the 27 registration centres in Ibadan South West, only five centres have their records intact while INEC could not locate records of the rest in Abuja.
Many unlettered women who were desperate of voting for candidates of their choice during the polls however, insisted that they would use the temporary voter’s card to vote during the elections. A woman, who identified herself as Munirat, told our correspondent that she had been coming to the INEC office close to her residence where she registered, for weeks without anybody telling her what to do.
She lamented that she might not be able to vote after all having put in so much efforts in ensuring that she was able to procure a card that would enable her to vote. ‘’I’ve told them; they should expect me at the polls as I must vote with this one (temporary Voter’s Card) they gave to me. At least I did not manufacture it by myself’’, she said in anger and despair.
Another distraught potential voter, Mr Akinlude Owoeye, wondered why it was so difficult for INEC to come up with mere voter’s cards at the right time….early enough to enable all qualified voters to have a hand in who become their leaders.
‘’I think, it’s part of the systemic problem we keep talking about in Nigeria’’, he yelled, stressing that ‘’the last time INEC had this kind of elections was about four years ago. You begin to wonder what they have been doing since when we had the last general elections in 2011’’.
All efforts to talk to the controversial state electoral commissioner, Amb. Akeju proved abortive as he was said to be in a meeting for over three hours that our correspondent was waiting for him at the Oyo State INEC head-office, Secretariat, Ibadan.
Many troubled voters were however, directed to go to the respective local government council areas nearest to them for the collection for the PVCs. While some were lucky, over 65 per cent of them were full of terrible stories to tell about the whole exercise.
It was however, gathered that the story was not in any way different across the length and breadth of the federation as INEC appears to be in disarray due to what many described as shoddy arrangements for the PVCs distribution.
Buhari Vs Jonathan
A source confided in the Street Journal that like what happened in Ibadan South West of Oyo State where over 85 per cent of the registration centres have their records missing in INEC data base in Abuja, Alimosho Local Council Area which is the largest LGA in Lagos State is battling with a similar problem.
It was gathered that records of most of the registration centres in Alimosho LGA could not be traced by INEC in its data base. Many potential voters who took advantage of today’s public holiday declared by the State Governor to enable workers in the state collect their PVCs were unable to realize their dream of collecting the all- important voting material.
Not a few observers however, insinuated that the Alimosho problem was a deliberate attempt by the ruling party to deny the opposition, APC of votes in Lagos State where it enjoys large followership.
Prof-Attahiru-Jega-INEC
The Street Journal however, gathered that Bayelsa State where President Goodluck Jonathan hails from is also not immune from the INEC PVCs epidemic. The Governor of the state, Edward Dickson, earlier in the week condemned INEC for denying the people of the state their PVCs that would enable them exercise their civic responsibility.
Further investigation revealed that the entire elections appear doomed for a disaster should INEC go into the exercise as scheduled as many people would be disenfranchised, a development that might vitiate the credibility of the make or mar elections in the anal of history of the country.
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Author: News Editor

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