Home News PVC: Abakaliki residents laud INEC on extension of collection date

PVC: Abakaliki residents laud INEC on extension of collection date

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Some residents of Abakaliki in Ebonyi have commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for extending the timeframe for the collection of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).

The residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Friday described the extension as a ‘welcome development’.

They urged the commission to address hitches hampering the smooth collection exercise.

The PVC collection commenced on January 5 and was due to end on January 22 before the commission announced the deadline extension to Jan. 29.

Mr Philip Onwe, a civil servant, said that extension of the collection timeframe was a heavy relief to the registrants who were yet to pick the document.

Onwe said that the action was a demonstration of the readiness of INEC to conduct the election seamlessly.

“I was lucky enough to have collected my card just a few days ago before this extension after several days of unsuccessful attempts.

“I thank God that the commission heeded the demands of the electorate for time extension, given the difficulty they go through to collect the PVC.

“It is pertinent that the staff and management of the commission do the needful to eliminate all encumbrances that militate against the smooth collection exercise,” Onwe said.

Dr John Elom, another resident explained that many registered voters might be disenfranchised due to the slow process of acquiring the PVCs at the collection centres.

“Many people are now aware that their votes will count in the forthcoming general elections and that their voter’s cards are the only qualification to vote hence the eagerness to collect their PVCs.

“However, the frustration experienced at the collection centres coupled with the ‘unpatriotic’ attitude of some of the INEC officials charged with the exercise, may make many registrants not collect the voter cards and subsequently become disenfranchised.

“The commission should leverage the extension to address the challenges affecting the distribution and collection of the voter cards as well as close-up other administrative lacuna working against the exercise in Ebonyi,” Elom said.

Mr Chinedu Ede, a physically challenged person, who lauded the INEC for the time extension, noted that people with disabilities (PWDs) deserved special attention arguing that they went through a lot of stress queuing online endlessly to get their PVCs.

Ede argued that PWDs have a large membership enough to sway the outcome of the forthcoming election in the state and appealed to the relevant authorities to make the process of collecting the cards less difficult for their members.

Ede, who registered at the Ebebe polling unit at Kpiri-Kpiri ward, said that it took him two days to collect his PVC due to the absence of the INEC officials at the designated collection centres.

Another resident, Mrs Chinyere Madu, who also commended the extension however, said the commission should go a step further to address the issue of laxity on the part of its staff.

According to her, the commission should also address the difficulty PWDs go through in seeking to collect their PVCs.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dr Festus Okoye, INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee on Thursday, announced the extension after a regular meeting of the commission in Abuja.

Okoye added that the Commission was investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes to obtain their PVCs.

“Those found culpable will face disciplinary action and/or prosecution,” he said.

Okoye added: “As a result of this extension, there is a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows:

“Collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one week from Monday, Jan. 16 to Sunday, January 22.

“Collection at the Local Government level will resume on Monday, January 23 and end Sunday, January 29.”

(NAN)

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