To ensure that every registered voter gets the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended by two weeks the deadline for the collection across the country.
The collection whichdeadline had had been fixed for March 8, 2015, is now to continue until March 22, 2015.
A statement by Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, made available to the media on Sunday in Abuja said “this latest extension offers the last opportunity for duly registered persons to collect their PVCs before the general elections scheduled for March 28 and April 11, 2015.
“INEC hereby calls on registered persons that are yet to collect their PVCs to use this last opportunity in doing so, in order to participate in the forthcoming general elections,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, on Sunday dismissed the speculation making the rounds that the National Electoral Commissioners and the State Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of INEC had resolved to pass a vote of no confidence in the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, to pave the way for his removal from office.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, Agbaje declared that the speculation was the handiwork of lazy politicians who were out to distract the attention of Jega, discredit the commission and cause confusion in the land ahead of the elections.
He also described as fallacy the claim by some political parties and some personalities that the test- run of the card reader done by INEC last Saturday showed glaring shortcomings of the electoral umpire, as he insisted that the exercise was a big success.
Denying the plot to get Jega removed from office through a vote of no confidence, he said: “As we speak, as the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, I am not aware of any plan to pass a vote of no confidence in our chairman, Professor Jega, by National and Resident Electoral Commissioners as being alleged in some quarters.
“It is the handiwork of a few lazy politicians. They just want to cause confusion in the land and with prayers and supports of all Nigerians they will not succeed.
“Even if the National and Resident Electoral Commissioners are to meet today to vote on our chairman on any issue especially the 2015 general elections, I’m sure he will get nothing less than 80 pert cent votes in his favour because he is a team player any time any day. Nigeria is blessed to have such a man as the Chairman of INEC at this point in time.
“As a team player who knows his onions, Jega consults widely at all times on all issues. If he consults with the National Electoral Commissioners on any issue and he still needs additional input, he will quickly summon all the State RECs for further consultation as well as other stakeholders including the leaders of the registered political parties, civil society organisations, the National Assembly, the security agencies, the press and others, depending on the issue involved,” he said.
Speaking on the mock election and test running of the card reader machines conducted in some states of the Federation last Saturday by the commission, Agbaje described the exercise as a huge success.
He urged Nigerians to shun dirty politics and sentiments and embrace the new technology which he said would eliminate all sorts of known electoral malpractices at the polls.
“There is nothing to fear about the introduction of the new technology. I supervised the exercise in Lagos and we saw it all. Every thing went on smoothly. In fact, there was a man who came from another area not covered by the test running to where we operated the card reader and his card was rejected, that is extent people will go to discredit all what INEC is doing to deliver a credible election for the nation,” he stated.
On the level of collection and distribution of PVCs in Ondo State, Agbaje disclosed that INEC had given out 1,105,709 PVCs representing 74 per cent collection.
“We still have 388,460 cards or 26 per cent of the total cards in our custody as of last Friday. So, we are calling on those who are yet to collect theirs to take advantage of the recent extension of collection deadline to do so,” he said.
In another development, the Abia State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Celina Oko, disclosed on Sunday that the INEC in the state has taken delivery of 3,233 card readers for the accreditation of eligible voters during the general elections.
Oko who stated this while briefing newsmen in her office said the commission had adopted strategies to ensure that eligible voters collect their cards before the elections.
She revealed that INEC in the state has started compiling the names of those who have not collected their PVCs with a view to liaising with communities to ensure that the PVCs get to their owners.
The State REC explained that the card reader machines are not only simple but would also eliminate multiple voting and guarantee free, fair ande acceptable general election, adding the personnel that would operate the machines have all been trained.
Oko disclosed that the commission in the state has distributed 1,146,087 PVCs representing 82.9 per cent out of 1,343,948 PVCs received while the state has a total of 1,396,162 registered voters.
Oko said the commission was prepared to conduct a free and fair election in the 184 wards and in the 3,275 polling units in the state.