A’Ibom REC De­cries Poor Re­sponse to PVC Col­lec­tion

THISDAY - - NEWS - OkonBassey

About six months to the con­duct of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, the Res­i­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sioner (REC) of the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC), Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, has de­cried the re­sponse of elec­torate in the state to the col­lec­tion of their Per­ma­nent Vot­ers’ Card (PVC).

In an in­ter­view in Uyo, the state cap­i­tal, Igini said the re­sponse of reg­is­tered vot­ers to col­lect their PVCs to en­able them par­tic­i­pate in the elec­tion of can­di­dates of their choice was poor.

The REC hinted that a to­tal of 132,078 vot­ers’ cards com­pris­ing the old and new Per­ma­nent Vot­ers’ Card had not been col­lected in the state.

He ex­plained that out of the 127,267 new PVCs re­ceived by the com­mis­sion and dis­trib­uted across the state, only 12,881 have been col­lected, leav­ing an out­stand­ing of 114,386; while out of 18,541 old PVCs, re­ceived and dis­trib­uted, only 849 have been col­lected, leav­ing an out­stand­ing of 17,692.

Ac­cord­ing to him, over seven million PVCs were yet to be col­lected na­tion­wide won­der­ing how the elec­torates would cast their votes less than 224 days to the com­mence­ment of the elec­tions across the coun­try with­out their PVCs.

Igini frowned that even with the cam­paigns run in the me­dia on the is­sue, many peo­ple in Uyo, the state cap­i­tal with the high­est num­ber of polling units were yet to col­lect their PVCs.

He charged po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the state to em­ploy the strat­egy used to per­suade the elec­torates reg­is­tered dur­ing the Con­tin­u­ous Vot­ers’ Regis­tra­tion ex­er­cise to also re­mind them to visit INEC of­fices for the col­lec­tion of their PVCs.

“With re­spect to the level of Per­ma­nent Vot­ers’ Card col­lec­tion and regis­tra­tion ex­er­cise in Akwa Ibom State in par­tic­u­lar, there are two broad cat­e­gories:

“We have the PVCs that we have pro­duced prior to the 2015 elec­tions up to the time of the com­mence­ment of the new Con­tin­u­ous Voter Regis­tra­tion on the 27th of April last year. These Per­ma­nent Vot­ers’ Card of 2015 till date which we re­fer to as the old PVC, the level of turnout is very poor.

“In Akwa Ibom State, we still have a to­tal of 18,541 old per­ma­nent vot­ers’ card, out of which we have only dis­trib­uted 849, leav­ing a to­tal of 17,692 still un­col­lected. Sim­i­larly, of the new set of PVCs, it may also sadly in­ter­est you to know that out of the 127,267 PVCs, we have only dis­trib­uted 12,881, leav­ing a to­tal of 114,386 PVC un­col­lected in this state”, he stated.

Urg­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the can­di­dates to be­gin to en­dear them­selves to the elec­torates so as to se­cure their votes, he stressed that there will be elec­tion in the en­tire polling unit in the state.

The REC warned that the prac­tice of snatch­ing of bal­lot boxes and re­sult sheets would not be tol­er­ated, and where such in­ci­dences were to hap­pen, the elec­tions in that place would be can­celled.

“As at to­day, we have barely six months to the 2019 elec­tions. We have less than 224 days to the open­ing of the polls in the en­tire 2,980 polling units that are domi­ciled in the 329 wards of the 31 lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas of Akwa Ibom state where elec­tion on the 16th Fe­bru­ary – Na­tional As­sem­bly and the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion will open and there­after, on the 2nd of March we will be hav­ing the gov­er­nor­ship and the 26 State Con­stituency elec­tion in Akwa Ibom.

“Here in Akwa Ibom State, the peo­ple con­test­ing for of­fice should do well enough to go and cam­paign, en­dear them­selves to the elec­torates be­cause in this state, there will be elec­tion in the en­tire polling unit.

“In this state, no­body should ever think of snatch­ing of bal­lot boxes or bal­lot pa­pers be­cause any­where that bal­lot boxes or bal­lot pa­pers are snatched, it is im­me­di­ately can­celled.

“No re­sult can ever em­anate from a polling unit(s) or wards or lo­cal gov­ern­ments where bal­lot pa­pers or re­sults are snatched and taken to any­where to pro­duce re­sults that will ever be ac­cepted by the com­mis­sion,” he added.

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