2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
2023: No PVC, No Vote — INEC insists
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has maintained that the Permanent Voters Cards, PVC, is a critical document in the forthcoming general elections and registered voters yet to collect theirs before the deadline would not be allowed to vote.
The Commission explained before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court that PVC is critical to the accreditation process for the general elections.
Meanwhile, the electoral body had through its counsel, Abdulaziz Sani, SAN, urged the court to throw out a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/2348/2023, seeking to compel it to allow voters with temporary voters card or proof of registration to cast their votes on election day.
The suit accused the electoral body of an alleged plot to disenfranchise over 20 million eligible voters in the country.
The suit was filed by a non-governmental organization under the aegis of the Incorporated Trustees of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, alongside two other plaintiffs- Emmanuel Chukwuka and Bruno Okeahialam.
The plaintiffs told the court that they filed the suit for themselves and on behalf of registered voters about to be disenfranchised by INEC in the 2023 general elections.
But in its counter affidavit, the INEC challenged the competence of the suit, insisting that the legal action was premature, frivolous and speculative.
Unlike previous elections where such opportunity was available to prospective voters, the commission insisted that only those with PVCs that were duly authenticated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would be allowed to cast their ballot.
The electoral body told the court that it has already extended the time within which PVCs could be collected.
While accusing the plaintiffs of failing to supply the court with particulars of the 29million persons they claimed may be disenfranchised, INEC, said the reason it extended the period for PVC collection was that so many fresh ones, especially in areas that were attacked, have been reproduced and ready for collection.
“My lord, it is a mysterious submission that the BVAS use the last 6 digits of VIN. That is totally wrong and not true. In fact, I am hearing it for the first time. Without the PVCs, the BVAS cannot work.
Even the election will surprise people. There are many innovations that I don’t want to divulge here.
“As far as this suit is concerned, no particulars were provided to show that any PVC was destroyed. They should have waited until the expiration of the time for collection, which is January 29, before filing this suit”, an INEC lawyer submitted.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the suit, adding that the 1st plaintiff failed to attach its Article of Incorporation to show that it has the mandate to embark on such public interest litigation.
Justice Binta Nyako has fixed January 30 to deliver judgment in the suit.
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