January 12, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has expressed concern over the low rate of PVC collection in Cross River State.
The Head of Department, Voter Education and Publicity at the commission’s office in Calabar, Anthonia Nwobi, stated that as of Sunday, January 8, 2023, less than ten thousand PVCs had been collected from the 2019 batch.
Nwobi said the challenges inherent in the distribution process could be directly linked to the persistent clamour for INEC to distribute the voters’ cards at the polling unit level rather than at the wards.
In her words, “As at January 8 2023, the total numbers of 2019 Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, collected were just 8,045 out of the 97,381 the commission received.
“Also, from the 2021/2022 fresh registration of PVCs we did in Cross River State, totalling 233,481 cards, only 68,073 have been picked up.”
“We have low turnout for the collection of PVCs for people, who did transfers as well. The commission received 70,474 applications for transfer in 2021/2022. So far, only 17,824 PVCs have been collected. This is too poor despite all our efforts at sensitizing the public,” she said.
She enumerated some of the challenges the commission is facing in the PVC distribution saying rather than go to the various wards as announced by INEC, the people were clamouring for the commission to take PVC distribution to the polling units.
She also listed the pressure on the electoral umpire by certain people to release the PVC to their proxies, which is against the INEC policy.
“People are not coming out enough in spite of the sensitization and intense awareness campaigns. In that regard, we have gone to the extent of deploying town criers within the residential areas to inform the people.
“There is the clamour for INEC to still devolve the PVC collection centres to polling units even though we have moved to the wards.
“Another challenge we are experiencing is the pressure by some persons on INEC distribution officers to release PVCs of their spouses, children, friends, and so on, which is against INEC’s policy,” she said.
She explained that if INEC is seen to break its own policy on PVC Collection, the people will turn around to accuse the commission of compromise.
She appealed to registered voters to work with the commission and get their voters card as they still have cards from 2019, 2021 and 2022 fresh registrations ready for collection.
She added that if they comply with the procedures, they would be attended to within 15 minutes or less and they would be able to go back to whatever they were doing.