As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) approaches, concerns arise over the more than 241,715 unclaimed cards in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states. With the October 9, 2023 deadline swiftly approaching, INEC has emphasized that there will be no extension for PVC collection.
In the breakdown of unclaimed PVCs, Kogi has 107,715 voter cards awaiting collection, Imo reports over 134,000 unclaimed cards, while precise figures for Bayelsa remain undisclosed.
Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, and Dr. Gabriel Longpet, the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, reiterated that the October 9 deadline will not be extended. They urged registered voters not to wait until the last minute to collect their PVCs, emphasizing that earlier collection would alleviate undue pressure on INEC offices.
The INEC had scheduled governorship elections in the three states for November 11, with 18 political parties fielding candidates. While some political parties have initiated voter sensitization campaigns to encourage citizens to collect their PVCs, concerns about potential disenfranchisement persist.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State expressed concerns over the high number of unclaimed PVCs, attributing it to dissatisfaction with INEC’s handling of previous elections. The PDP urged security agencies and INEC to ensure fairness in the upcoming elections.
The Labour Party also expressed concern, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) outlined their extensive voter education and awareness campaigns to encourage PVC collection. They remain confident that citizens will recognize the importance of participating in the democratic process.
The Young Progressives Party (YPP) emphasized the significance of the PVC for the upcoming election, urging eligible voters to claim their cards promptly to ensure a credible, free, and fair election.
The situation highlights the importance of robust PVC collection efforts to enable eligible voters to exercise their rights in the upcoming governorship polls.