Some civil society organisations have asked the electoral umpire, INEC, to create a dedicated desk for CSOs, media and citizens to bring awareness to the challenges surrounding the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
This, they said, will allow for quick resolution of the challenges.
They also asked INEC to increase proactive information dissemination and create a mechanism to report its officials engaged in extortion or deliberately sharing misleading information to disenfranchise.
These are part of the recommendations made by the groups in a statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES on Monday.
The recommendations come on the heels of complaints by some Nigerians who are experiencing difficulties getting their PVCs.
Although INEC had asked registered voters to get their cards at the various registration centres, there have been reports of missing PVCs, poor communication from the umpire and extortion by INEC officials.
It is for these reasons that eight CSOs have made recommendations to INEC.
The signed groups are the Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID), Enough is Enough Nigeria, Yiaga Africa and ConnectHub.
Others are #FixPolitics, Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), Electoral College Nigeria and Women Advocates and Research Development Centre (WARDC)
Read the full statement below:
PVC COLLECTION & SUNDRY ISSUES AHEAD OF #NIGERIADECIDES2023
On Saturday, June 25th, at the Youth Vote Count Mega Concert in Abuja, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof M Yakubu, said that cards for those newly registered would be available on 1 October.
On Sunday, 31 July, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, announced that cards for those who registered between January 16 and 30 June will be ready in October, while cards for those who registered in July will be ready in November. In the month of November, no formal announcement was made that the date had been moved to December.
INEC did not have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for PVC Collection until the week of December 5 despite the agitations of citizens who continued to visit the INEC Local Governments offices and would be told to come back. For those who registered in 2021 or previously, if their cards were not found, no effort was made to solve the problem.
In a statement issued by Festus Okoye on Friday, December 2nd, INEC announced that PVCs for all registered voters would be ready from Monday, December 12th at INEC’s local government offices. Unfortunately, Nigerians again have had to waste money and time to visit INEC’s offices around the country, only to be told that their cards are not ready and they should come back. In addition, in some places where cards are available, registered voters express frustration with the disorderliness and cumbersome nature of the PVC collection process. In other locations, there seems to be extortion as was recorded and shared on Twitter by @samking10011 from the INEC office in Uvwie Local Government, Delta State.
In light of the above, we ask that INEC do the following:
Ensure that its Citizens’ Contact Centre works optimally.
Create a dedicated desk for civil society organisations, media and citizens to escalate the issues being observed for quick resolution. Also increase proactive information dissemination, especially when previously announced timelines change.
Create a mechanism to report INEC officials engaged in extortion or deliberately sharing misleading information to disenfranchise.
Contact ALL citizens that were deleted due to double registration or any other issue so they do not waste time and resources looking for their PVCs. For those whose new registration was deleted and the old one retained, contact them so they know the correct location to pick up their PVCs.
Make public the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for PVC Collection as the public is unaware of its contents.
Enable registered voters to check online and/or via USSD if their card is ready for pickup and the exact location of the card. For those who just registered, contact them directly via email or SMS when their cards are ready. This will help to control the crowd at INEC’s offices and decrease the unnecessary expenses and stress for citizens.
Extend PVC Collection for every day that INEC has been unprepared. As of today, PVC Collection should end on Sunday, January 27th. This will continue to be moved up for as long as INEC can not ensure that all registered citizens can pick up their PVCs without tears.
There are high expectations for this election and INEC can not be seen to be deliberately or inadvertently disenfranchising certain groups of people.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
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