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CSO to INEC: Resolve challenges of PVC collection to avoid voter apathy

Global Rights, a civil society organisation (CSO), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to improve citizens’ access to participate in the elections by improving the distribution of permanent voters cards (PVCs).

In a statement, the CSO expressed concern that the logistics for the distribution of PVCs have been hampered by hiccups in the management of the process.

“While we acknowledge the efforts of the Commission in ensuring that no citizen is disenfranchised in the forthcoming elections, we are concerned about the needless hurdles Nigerians are being subjected to in obtaining their permanent voters’ cards,” Global Rights said.

“In our monitoring of the situation across the nation, we noted multiple challenges which created bottlenecks in the collection process.

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“INEC’s failure to resolve these issues to date suggests that a sizeable number of voters may not receive their PVCs before the new deadline elapses and thus will be unable to cast their votes.

“For instance, while monitoring PVCs collection centres in the Federal Capital Territory, we noted that while the collection process has been smooth in some locations, the situation in other locations, serving larger populations, leaves much to be desired.

“Similar trends were noted in other states, including Lagos and Nasarawa states. We, therefore, call INEC’s attention to some of the specific difficulties that several duly registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory have encountered while attempting to obtain their PVCs.

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“Voters in the Utako Ward of the AMAC LGA have complained of sluggish PVC distribution due to understaffing.

“Several voters in the Orozo Ward reported visiting their wards upwards of three times and were repeatedly told that their PVCs were not ready.”

Global Rights added that there have also been complaints about the sorting process, leading to queues, stampedes, and missing PVCs in some areas in the FCT.

The CSO said it would be an unacceptable disservice to Nigeria’s democracy for INEC to disenfranchise willing and eligible voters due to a flawed collection process “as their continued frustration may trigger their resignation and deepen distrust for the electoral process”.

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“We, therefore, urge INEC to hastily resolve these challenges in order to enable citizens to fulfil their civic obligation as the extended PVC collection deadline draws near,” the CSO said.

“This has become not only relevant but imperative to addressing the recurrent issue of voter apathy that has characterised elections in Nigeria.”

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