Despite the extension of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection date by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), many registered voters may not get their PVCs before the elections’ day.
This is even as some voters have vowed to disrupt the elections in their wards if they could not get their PVCs.
Investigations by Saturday Independent in some local governments in the southern part of Kaduna State showed that most registered voters have, despite several attempts to get their PVCs could not.
A registered voter in Sanga Local Government Area of the state, Joe Janda, in a telephone interview, said he had gone to the PVC collection centre for over 10 times but could not get his.
According him: “I have, since the commencement of the PVC collection, went to the venue over 10 times with my temporary voter card (TVC) so that I can get my PVC, but till now I have not gotten it.
“I have two wives and children who are eligible to vote, but it is only one of my daughters that has been able to get her PVC. Those in charge keep telling us that we should come tomorrow, but till now, we have not gotten our cards.”
When asked whether he and his wives are the only ones affected, Janda said: “It is not peculiar to me. Many people in our village and other neighbouring villages have not gotten their PVCs too.”
Corraborating this claim, a popular district head in Sanga Local Government Area, who pleaded anonymity, said he and many other voters from his district are yet to get their PVCs.
According to the royal father, those who have not got their PVCs are far more than those who have got theirs.
“This issue is giving me sleepless nights because my subjects are on my neck that I should help them get their PVCs, but whenever I go to the INEC office in our local government, they keep telling me to be patient. How long will I continue to be patient?”
In Ibadan, Oyo State capital, the INEC spokesman, Ayodele Folami, said that as at Thursday, the commission had distributed 1,646,109 PVCS out of the available 2,381,102 PVCS (amounting to 69.13 per cent) leaving a balance of 734,993 PVCS to be collected.
The Assistant National Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Bayo Olateju, told our reporter that it would be foolhardy to expect 100 per cent collection of PVCS before the elections in view of the non-static nature of human beings.
He said: “From my personal experience, two of my children, who registered during the last registration exercise, are no more in the country. So their cards are likely to be among those cards yet to be collected.”
A lecturer at the Department of Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Adenike Ogunse, described the PVC distribution and collection as challenging, stressing that the culture of African time has permeated everything, which could explain the delay in the collection of the cards.
The spokesman of INEC in Abia State, Edwin Enabor, said that over 84 per cent of the registered voters in the state have collected their PVCs and the commission was excited about the development.
According to him, the electoral umpire in the state was now more than ready to conduct the elections, adding that with all the preparations, the execrcise would be very free and very fair, such that it would exceed the expectations of many skeptics.
Enabor, who is also in charge of voter education in the state, said the electorate had been enthusiastic in collecting their cards, adding that INEC was not leaving anything to chance to ensure a free, fair and credible elections.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, those who spoke with our correspondent said that they had visited the PVCs distribution centres without getting their cards, a clear indication that they would not participate in the forthcoming elections.
An artisan, Johnson Briggs, said: “This is very annoying. INEC keeps telling Nigerians that they are ready for the elections but many people are yet to collect their cards. What are they going to use to vote?
“This election is very important for everybody and I will not be happy if I don’t vote just because I don’t have a PVC. I think that Prof. Attahiru Jega should allow the use of the temporary voter cards (TVCs) so that those who could not get their PVCs could participate in the elections.”
A law student of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Emem Douglas, said that she was yet to get her PVC, noting that she would boycott the elections.
When contacted on phone, the Public Relations Officer of INEC in the state, Tonia Nwobi, said that even after the elections “people will still complain. Such complaints are expected. “Please help us tell them that PVCs are distributed at wards. They should go there and sort out their cards.”
In Owerri, a tricycle operator from Oru East Local Government Area, Onyedinma Obiwuru, warned that unless the PVCs are evenly distributed before the dates for the election, the whole thing would amount to an exercise in futility.
“Everybody is interested in the election but the problem is that till now, some areas have not received the PVCs, which is the only instrument for one to cast his vote. I had expected that by now, all arrangements would have been concluded so that some people will not be disenfranchised.”
A trader in Owerri Main Market, Ndidi Amaka Onyebinama said, “for now, I do not have the PVC even though they have promised to bring them to where I live. If I do not have it, I will not bother myself again. After all, I am not contesting any elective office.”
A mechanic who operates at the Nekede Mechanic Village, Owerri, however, exonerated the INEC from the logjam in the distribution of the electoral material.
He accused some politicians of frustrating the efforts of the commission in its efforts to make the voting materials available in all the 27 LGAs and 305 electoral wards in the state.
An electronics dealer in New Owerri, Donald Ibeagbulem, blamed INEC officials for the bottlenecks in the distribution of the PVCs, asking, “what have they been doing all along since the election timetable was shifted?”
He added: “Let them wake up because Nigerians are looking unto them.”
Deputy PRO of INEC in Ogun State, Ronald Dansu, said the total number of registered voters in the state stand at 1,795,794 adding that thenumber of PVCs is 1,563,468, while 906,190 PVCs have been distributed so far with 657,227 PVCs uncollected.
He said: “The percentage of PVCs collected based on PVCs received from Abuja is 58 per cent, whilePVCs collected based on registered voters is 50.5 per cent. However, a total of 232,326 cards are yet to be collected from Abuja.”
A student of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Akinkunmi Idowu, decried the attitude of INEC towards the PVCs issue, adding that by now, all registered voters in the state should have PVCs. He also complained of his inability to get PVC despite his efforts to get it.
A civil servant, Folami Adejuwon, said 50.5 per cent of PVCs distribution is still low, urging INEC to work harder to make PVCsavailable in order not to prevent registered voters from carrying out their civic responsibility.