Some civil Society Organisations have called on the Independent Electoral Commission to do all in its powers to salvage invalid Permanent Voter Cards recently announced by the agency.
It was earlier reported that the Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, said 45 per cent of the voter registration in the country was invalid, while about 60 per cent of valid PVCs were spread unevenly across states.
Yakubu said INEC had made available 1.8million PVCs, which comprised 1,390,340m PVCs derived from the agency’s data clean-up exercise and 464,340 for those who had applied for transfers or replacement.
The Media Communications Officer of TechHerNG, Ofim Kelechi, said that INEC should take full responsibility for the glitches in the PVC system. He noted that the Automated Biometric Identification System ought to be able to delete multiple registrations.
“Looking at the press statement of the INEC chairman and the reasons behind the disqualified voters, which is because of multiple registrations, failure of the biometric identification system and other things; you cannot blame the voters. INEC should take responsibility for that; they should have devised a means for this kind of challenge ahead of time. If someone is registering for a second time, the system should be able to detect and delete one of the registrations.
“INEC is using the Automated Biometric System so this should have been tested. It is not the fault of voters trying to register, so INEC should find a way to register these voters, even if it requires extending the days of registration.
Ofim ,however, expressed optimism, saying that INEC still has ample time to make amends in the production and distribution of valid PVCs to eligible voters.
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre and Chairman, Transition Monitoring Group, Awal Musa said that the low registration and the percentage of invalid PVCs might lead to the disenfranchisement of the electorate if nothing urgent was done by INEC to salvage the situation.
“The number of available PVCs shows that Nigerians have not been able to register because they are disappointed about the political corruption and bad governance in the country. This is the reason why CSOs are advocating, and asking both INEC and political parties to intensify efforts to get Nigerians to register and collect their PVCs,’’ he noted.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Sabi Votes Initiative, Abass Oyeniyi, expressed disappointment over the preparedness of INEC to conduct a credible election given the number of available and valid PVCs.
Oyeniyi said, ‘’By now we are already in the last quarter of the voter registration; looking at the pace in the last months, we may have just about 2m to 2,5m voters card ready. INEC is not showing enough preparedness for elections, you cannot be giving us dates without following up with positive results on your own end.’’
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