…Registers 84, 271,832 voters
To ensure adequate collection of already available permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) and reduction of uncollected cards deficit ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to employ strategies to effectively dispatch the voters’ cards.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, also disclosed that one of the measures to be put in place is informing voters of availability of of ready PVCs through short messages to their handsets.
He added that as at the end of the 16 months continuous voters registration which ended on August 30, the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832.
Yakubu stated this at a regular meeting held with Resident Electoral Commissioners at INEC secretariat in Abuja on Thursday.
He also stated that the figure may drop slightly after the running of the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). He said that the current figure represents about 21% increase on the existing register, adding that at the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered.
He said, “We are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs. Today’s (Thursday’s) meeting will also consider other options, including the devolution of collection to Ward level”.
The INEC boss however insisted that no PVCs will be collected by proxy.
He said, “Registered voters must endeavour to collect their cards personally. We are working hard to ensure that no PVC goes into the wrong hands”.
Yakubu said in addition to fresh registration, the Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law.
He said, “This means that the Commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general election. Already, the Commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection.
He also confirmed that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the states next week while reassuring Nigerians that every registered voter will have his/her PVC available for collection before the general election.
He said the Commission is convening a meeting of the national Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to review the security arrangement for the September 22 Osun State governorship election.
Yakubu added that INEC is working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices.
He said, “We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials.
We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. Furthermore, we are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitisation”.
The commission, he said, has distributed PVC to 1.6 million registered voters by Local Government Areas, Wards and Polling Units of the Voters’ Register, while 48 political parties are fielding candidates in the election.
The chairman assured Nigerians that elections will continue to meet the requirements of the laws, processes and procedures as well as international best practice.