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POLLS: 87.2m PVCs collected as INEC insists on no PVC, no voting

POLLS: 87.2m PVCs collected as INEC insists on no PVC, no voting 

After weeks of preparation, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has cleared 87,209,007 voters out of the 93.5 million it registered to vote in tomorrow’s Presidential and National Assembly election and the March 11 governorship and state Assembly polls.

The 87.2 million voters were the number of people who collected their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, as of February 5 when the deadline to collect the cards ended.

The electoral umpire insisted yesterday that no one would be allowed to vote without PVC.

Indeed, there were hope and anxiety among Nigerians as candidates and political parties rounded off campaigns across the country, yesterday.

While some votrers expressed hopes that the elections would offer the coutry an opportunity to launch on thr ight path of development, others feared that the process could turn violent, especially considering the violence and verbal exchanges among the presidential candidates and some key stakeholders that had trailed the campaigns which ended yesterday.

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According to the data released, yesterday, the number of uncollected PVCs stood at 6,259,229. Nigeria has a registered voting population of 93,469,008.

The Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council PCC had on Wednesday demanded a breakdown of Nigerians who have collected their PVCs, saying the data was necessary for its election planning.

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At a news conference Wednesday in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed that the commission would upload the PVC data collection disaggregation on polling unit basis to its website by Friday.

Aside journalists from domestic and foreign media, some of those present at the briefing were former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda; leaders of the International Republican Institute, IRI, and National Democratic Institute, NDI;

Chairmen of the electoral commissions of the Republic of Benin, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Tanzania and Niger Republic as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps.

State by state figures

A state by state breakdown of PVCs collected showed that Lagos has the highest figure of 6,214,970, followed by Kano with 5,594,193; Kaduna, 4,164,473; Katsina, 3,459,945; and, Rivers, 3,285,785.

Ekiti which has the lowest number of registered voters also has the lowest number of PVCs collected – 958, 052.

A summation of PVCs collected on the basis of geopolitical zones showed that the North-West has 21,445,000; South-West, 15,536,213; North-Central, 14,603,621; South-South, 13,284,920; North-East, 11,937,769; and, South-East, 10,401,484.

In his address, Yakubu said the Commission has meticulously prepared and implemented its Election Project Plan, learning from recent elections.

“This election is a huge logistical deployment. We have painstakingly procured, organized and delivered all the materials to the States for deployment. We commenced the delivery of non-sensitive materials over two months ago and they have been batched down to Registration Area/Ward and Pulling Unit levels.

“Sensitive materials have been delivered to the States and are presently being delivered to our Local Government Area offices. As such, these materials are only between one and two levels away from the Polling Units. We have achieved this by learning from our recent difficult experience with logistics. We have completed arrangements with the transport unions for the final leg of the movement of personnel and materials to the Polling Units. They have assured us of their readiness to provide all the vehicular needs of the Commission for the election”, he said.

Yakubu added that the commission had also completed all the testing of its technologies to be deployed for the election, particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS and the INEC Results Viewing Portal IReV.

“On 4th February 2023, we tested the BVAS in a mock accreditation exercise and uploaded the results to IReV. We are satisfied with the performance of the BVAS, which has been confirmed by several groups that observed the exercise. Lessons learnt from the exercise have helped us in the training of 10,600 Registration Area Technical Support Staff RATECHS. They will provide the necessary support to ensure that the deployment of the BVAS is without hitches.

No PVC, no voting

“Let me reiterate that the procedure for voting as provided in the Electoral Act 2022 clearly makes the use of the BVAS mandatory. So, also, the use of the Permanent Voters’ Cards PVCs. The ‘No PVC, No Voting’ rule subsists.

“In the last few months, we made 13,676,907 PVCs available for collection for new voters and applicants for transfer and replacement of lost/damaged cards. While we are pleased that the rate of collection is higher than in previous years, there are still, unfortunately, many cards that were not collected.

“Vote-buying remains a major threat to our democracy. We have worked closely with enforcement agencies to ensure that this is eliminated from our electoral process. We are convinced that our joint operations before and on Election Day will vastly reduce the prospect of voter inducement, which is not only illegal but immoral.

“The ban on the use of mobile phones and photographic devices at the voting cubicles is still in place. Some voters have used these devices in previous elections to snap their marked ballot papers for vote transaction. However, citizens are permitted to come to the Polling Units with these devices, as long as they do not take them to the voting cubicles. Our arrangement of placing the ballot box near the voting cubicle and away from party agents remains.

We’ve recovered from attacks on INEC facilities

“In the build-up to the general election, several of our facilities were attacked by unknown assailants in various parts of the country. I am pleased that we have fully recovered from those attacks, and we have been further assured that our facilities, staff, voters, observers, and citizens will be safe during the election.

“As a result of recent developments in the economy, we have also had to consult with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, on the fuel situation. As you all know, we require Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, and Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, to power vehicles and boast for land and marine transportation as well as our generators during the election.

“We are pleased that the NNPC Limited assured us that it will ensure availability of the products for the polls. Likewise, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has assured us that it will provide us with the small amount of cash we require from our budget to cash payment to some critical service providers for the election. I must reiterate that the bulk of payment for works goods and services are still paid for by electronic transfer.

“I want to assure Nigerians that we are adequately prepared for this election. We remain fully committed to a free, fair and credible process. I want to once again declare that our allegiance is only to Nigerians. Our commitment is to ensure that in this election we put everything in place for free choice, fair contest and credible outcome”, he added.

FG shuts land borders

Meanwhile, the Federal Government, yesterday, ordered the closure of all land borders.

Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, Mr Isah Jere, in a statement, said the borders would be shut from Saturday to Sunday.

The statement reads: “The Federal Government has directed the closure of all land borders effective from 00:00 hours on Saturday February 25 to 00:00 hours Sunday, February, 26, 2023.

“Accordingly, all Command Comptrollers, especially those in the Border States, are to ensure strict enforcement of this directive.”

Banks to close early

Meanwhile, banks have sent notice of early closure to their respective customers ahead of the polls.

Some banks, who sent messages to their customers, said: “Kindly be informed that our branches nationwide will close to customers earlier than usual on Friday, February 24, 2023 by 1pm. Please be assured that you can still bank with us through our alternative channels.”


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