By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- INEC says it did not deny any eligible Nigerian the opportunity to acquire the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) as was being claimed in the media.
Its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye, refuted the claim in Abuja on Monday.
Okoye said that INEC’s attention was drawn to media reports that about seven million Nigerians who applied for the PVC online during the last Continuous Voter Registration were denied the opportunity.
“To set the records straight, INEC introduced the online pre-registration on June 28, 2021.
“By doing so, citizens were given the opportunity to start the registration online and then book appointments at their convenience to complete the physical biometric registration at designated centres.
“It was a novel idea leveraging on technology to ease the registration process,’’ he said.
Okoye explained that this was in addition to the walk-in option at physical registration centres, where registrants could begin and complete their registration without going through the online pre-registration procedure.
“For the online pre-registration, 10,487,972 began the process.
“By the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 registrants completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with laid-down procedure.
“Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration and INEC made the information public.
“This is what some people are now holding on to, to claim that they were denied the opportunity.
“In reality, they failed to either complete the online enrolment or failed to appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process,’’ he said.
Okoye added that out of the 7,043,594 who did not complete their registration, 4,161,775 attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration.
“The remaining 2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical biometric registration at designated centres before the expiration of the deadline.
“Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerian was denied the opportunity to complete the online pre-registration,’’ he stressed.
Okoye appealed to Nigerians to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh hour extension of set deadlines. (NAN)