There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have extended collection of PVCs in some local government areas across the country, where there were hiccups.
Though it was widely speculated that the electoral body would further extend the deadline for collection of PVCs after March 22, Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, insisted that there was no further extension.
In answer to a sms enquiry, he said: “The only extension (to Wednesday, March 25) is for PVCs made available in the last three weeks, wherever that is. Every other PVC is being retrieved.”
He explained that only some local government areas in some states were affected and that there were few and scattered across the country.
Besides late arrival of PVCs in some states, there were also cases of duplication.
For instance, voters in Ward 10 in Ekpon Town of Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State have alleged the duplication of their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. They claimed that whereas the over 1,000 persons who were registered in November/December 2014 were yet to receive their PVCs, INEC, last week, made available reprints of PVCs which many people in the ward had earlier collected.
Through their spokesperson, Mr. Joe Aitamegbe, the residents told journalists that many of them, who out of curiosity went with their new voter cards to confirm their identities on the voter register when INEC directed them to do so, were shocked when they were given PVCs.
Indeed, observers had expressed the belief that there would be selected extension in some states affected by distribution hiccups caused by the commission.
INEC had on March 8, the original deadline, further extended collection of Permanent Voter Cards by two weeks, thus putting the deadline for March 22, six days before presidential election.
In a statement, Idowu had stated that the extension offered the last opportunity for duly registered persons to collect their PVCs before the general elections slated for March 28 and April 11.
“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,”, the statement had said.
Regardless of the few cases of extended collection, INEC has given assurances that all was set for the presidential poll this week.
Meanwhile, President Jonathan has assured Nigerians that elections would hold as scheduled by INEC starting from March 28.
The President stated this at a stakeholders meeting with PDP members from North East geopolitical zone on Monday.
He said that his administration was determined to conduct free and fair election by giving INEC free hand to operate within the ambit of law.
Jonathan said the military were doing everything possible to defeat insurgent Boko Haram group assuring that insurgency would be a thing of the past in the country.
He said anybody linking him with the Boko Haram insurgent group, God will judge between him and those people.
He assured that his administration was already winning the war against insurgency in the North-East.
The President consoled with the families who lost their loved ones in the 2011 post- election violence in the zone, saying that government was doing everything possible to ensure a hitch-free elections this year.