- Facing the general elections next month, the call to the INEC is growing to extend its deadline for the collection of PVCs
- A coalition of civil society organizations in Abuja called on INEC to meet its legal obligations and avoid disenfranchising millions of Nigerians.
- The coalition also stood up for college students who registered for their PVC during the eight-month ASUU strike.
FCT, Abuja – The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has been urged to fulfill its obligation to distribute Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) to registered voters by Sunday, January 29, the date limit.
A coalition of civil society groups made this appeal in Abuja at the Transcorp Hilton on Friday, January 27.
The coalition is made up of Yiaga Africa, Women Advocates and Research Development Center (WARDC), The Electoral College Nigeria and Reclaim Naija.
Others include the Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), #FixPolitics, Enough is Enough Nigeria, Dataphyte and ConnectHub.
In a statement made available to Legitimate, the coalition alleged that INEC officials informed some registered voters in different collection centers in the country that their PVCs were not available; while others were asked to return a day after the deadline or after the election to pick up their PVCs.
Following this development, the coalition asked INEC to fulfill its legal obligations as stipulated in the amended Electoral Law 2022 by providing the PVCs of these registered voters.
The coalition said:
“This is a violation of the Electoral Act 2022 which obliges INEC in Section 16(1) to design, print and issue voter cards to voters whose names appear on the voter register. INEC also committed and promised that all those registered and, in their database, will have their PVC provided and available for collection.
“The emphasis on a collection deadline is an indirect disenfranchisement of validly registered voters whose PVCs are not available due to INEC administrative lapses. Denying these voters their right to vote due to a failure by INEC is unacceptable.”
According to the statement, it was confirmed that there have been a series of similar complaints in the federal capital as well as in states such as Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Anambra, Imo, Ondo, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Borno, Sokoto, Ogun, Kano and Kwara.
Meanwhile, the coalition also raised concerns about students who registered home during the eight-month ASUU strike.
It followed that these students are back in school and unable to return home to collect their PVCs, which in turn raises another issue of potential disenfranchisement of a population that dominated the percentage of newly registered voters.
The coalition said:
“According to INEC, 40% of the 9,518,188 new registered voters are students. If they registered at home and are now at school, INEC must ensure that they can withdraw their cards as cheaply as possible.”
Following this development, the coalition has urged INEC to extend the deadline for PVC collection, as well as work with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to ensure there are no classes or exams the week before the election so that students can go home to vote. .