Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that over 378,797 permanent voter cards (PVCs) are yet to be collected by registered voters in the 25 local government areas of Niger State.
Chanchaga Local Government was said to have the largest number of 52,000 uncollected PVCs followed by Shiroro and Tafa LGs with 30,000 and 20,000 cards uncollected.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Sam Egwu, disclosed this in Minna while addressing “the Commissioner of Police Security Meeting with political parties and critical stakeholders” in preparation for the 2019 general election at the police Officers Mess on Thursday.
Represented by the Director of Operations of the commission, Mr M. B. Yussuf, the REC also said that more voter cards had been printed and some were received in the state on Wednesday.
Prof. Egwu therefore pleaded with those that registered “to go to the appropriate place” to collect their PVCs so that they could vote in next year’s election, adding that political parties should also sensitise their supporters on the need to collect their voter cards.
INEC, the REC said, was unhappy with the crises that had always accompanied the party primary election for the picking of candidates for election, adding that in 2015, over 80 cases related to the conduct of primary elections were lost in courts.
“80 cases were lost in courts because of lack of internal democracies in the political parties, recent conduct of primary elections has followed similar pattern,” he said.
He therefore appealed to political parties to “always play the game according to the rules” instead of over heating the polity by their actions.
Egwu also decried the attitude of not being “good sportsmen” being exhibited by some politicians’ acts he said often lead to crisis.
“If everyone plays his role according to the law, there will be no problem. We have identified black spots in the state and have mapped out strategies to avoid problems in these areas
“INEC by virtue of the enabling laws establishing it does not have the wherewithal for security. Security is not part of the nine functions of INEC,” Egwu said.
The Director of Administration, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Jibrin Ndagi, who represented the state chairman Tanko Beji, said the party now has a different opinion about the security agencies in the state as a result of the assurances given by the police commissioner on behalf of the heads of security outfits in the state.
Ndagi however faulted the position of INEC on crisis as a result of the conduct of party primaries, insisting that “our party (PDP) did not receive any petition or protest as a result of our primaries, our primaries were hitch free”.