Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has finally bowed to pressure as the Commission announced the extension of the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs, by one week.
INEC, in a statement issued Saturday by the Commission’s Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave the new deadline as February 5, 2023.
It also extended the time for collection from 9:00 am to 5:00pm daily including Saturdays and Sundays.
INEC warned those who did double registration not to bother going for collection of their PVCs as they were never printed.
The electoral umpire said it would not extend the deadline again.
There have been clamour across the country for the electoral umpire to extend deadline for PVC collection to avoid disenfranchising many voters who have been thronging INEC offices and collection centres nationwide to pick their PVCs but without success.
The statement obtained by Ikengaonline read: “The Commission met today, Saturday, 28th January 2023 a day after its meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal capital Territory, Abuja and deliberated on a number of issues, including the reports from RECs on the ongoing collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in its 774 Local Government Offices nationwide.
“It will be recalled that at the meeting with RECs on Friday, 27 January 2023, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu indicated that the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the General Election.
“Having reviewed reports from all the States of the Federation, the Commission is encouraged by the progress made so far as more Nigerans troop out daily to collect their PVCs.
“Arising from reports from the various States and discussions with Resident Electoral Commissioners, the Commission has decided to further extend PVC collection in all its Local Government Offices nationwide by an additional one week.
“The ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide will therefore continue and end on 5“ February 2023. This is the second time the Commission is extending PVC collection nationwide and this will be the last extension of the exercise.
“Collection period has further been extended by an additional two hours and will start at 9am and end at 5pm daily including Saturdays and Sundays.
“Those that engaged in double and multiple registration should not bother visiting any of the Commission’s Offices as the Commission did not print their PVCs.
“The Commission will continue to act on all reported cases of sharp practices during the ongoing PVC collection and will ensure that no Nigerian is disadvantaged and all those that carried out valid registration have an opportunity of collecting their PVCs.
“The Commission once again salutes the patience and doggedness of citizens.”