By Our Roving Correspondent
The ongoing Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) distribution exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has elicited wide-ranging complaints across the country.
DESERT HERALD investigations revealed that INEC’s claim that 80% of nation’s registered voters have been issued with their permanent voters cards, may be far from the truth, given the number of registered voters trooping to their respective polling units daily across the country.
Eligible voters in Kaduna State, who are yet to receive their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), have threatened to disrupt the elections should the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prevent them from voting with their Temporary Voters Card (TVC) in the fast-approaching general elections.
Aggrieved members of the electorate issued the threat in Kaduna last week, following INEC’s inability to distribute the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to the electorate in many parts of the state. The 3-day exercise, which had been postponed twice due to what INEC officials called logistic problems, was engulfed by complaints from many quarters.
“We’ve been waiting from 7am and as you can see it’s 5.30pm. There is no INEC official on ground to explain why we are omitted from the exercise. If they think they can stop us from voting with the temporary voter’s card after failing to give us the so-called permanent ones, we would resist it”, fumed a voter who was not fortunate enough to get his permanent voters’ card.
Some voters who spoke to DESERT HERALD expressed satisfaction with the quality of the PVCs, lamenting the many postponements of the exercise. They called on INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, to redouble his efforts towards ensuring hitch-free general elections next year.
According to DESERT HERALD investigations, only few units in Kaduna metropolis distributed PVCs to eligible voters. “The INEC officials can’t explain why my PVC is missing”, said an aggrieved voter who could not get his card.
Keen watchers of the Kaduna political scene contended that the lapses recorded during the three-day exercise are a sad reminder that the challenges before INEC in the build-up to the 2015 general elections are gargantuan but not insurmountable. As an umpire, INEC must live above board and remain as unbiased and independent as possible, they maintained.
“We must avoid what happened in 2011, the post-election violence that claimed many lives and property. The expectation is that INEC should against all odds organize free, fair and credible general elections that would not lead to violence”, reasoned a concerned citizen, pointing out that 2015 could make or mar Nigeria, should our politicians throw caution to the dogs.
Meanwhile, INEC after many operational lapses and postponements of the PVCs distribution exercise in states like Nasarawa, Lagos, FCT, etc., initiated another arrangement for the commencement of what it calls ‘Continuous Voters Registration’ (CVR), an arrangement that did not address fundamental issues of the status of those who could not access their PVCs, with their valid temporary voter’s cards.
All efforts made by DESERT HERALD to get INEC’s reaction failed.