The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has denied withholding Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) belonging to any ethnic group in the country ahead of the February 25 and March 11, general elections.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, yesterday in Abuja, said that the commission did not discriminate against any ethnic group and that allegations that the commission was denying the Igbo in Lagos State of their PVCs were false.
Daily Trust reports that INEC, which commenced the distribution of PVCs on December 12, 2022, had previously said it would end the collection on January 22, 2023, before extending it to January 29, 2023, and subsequently extended the deadline to February 5.
Oyekanmi said that the commission initially delivered 940,200 PVCs to Lagos for new registrants, requests for transfers and replacement of cards, covering the period between June, 2021, and July, 2022.
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He noted that as of January 26, this year, 839,720 PVCs, representing 89.3 per cent, had been collected by registrants.
He added that additional PVCs were also delivered to Lagos recently and that their owners had been collecting them.
He said, “Is it really possible that the Igbo will not be among these 839,720 persons? I am saying this because the allegation you referred to is not just from our Oshodi office. We hear about it in other LGAs.
“This issue came up recently when Pat Utomi invaded our Oshodi office based on the same allegation and had the audacity to address a press conference there, which was totally unexpected of someone in his position.
“So, Seun Okinbaloye of Channels asked our Lagos Resident Electoral Commission (REC) about it. His (REC’s) response was that many of those complaining about not getting their PVCs actually registered twice.
“They moved from their former residences/states and would like to vote in Lagos. There is nothing wrong with that. However, instead of applying for a transfer of their polling unit (from where they relocated to Lagos), they went ahead and registered a second time; which is against our laws.”
He further said that the commission’s policy was not to print PVCs for double registrants because their cards would have been printed already and would be among the uncollected PVCs.