INEC: Politicians Desperate to Buy PVCs

  •   Says security remains major concern

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has alleged that politicians are making desperate efforts to buy Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from officials of the commission.

The electoral body has also raised the alarm that adequate security remains a major concern ahead of the 2019 general elections in the country.

INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, Mutiu Agboke, made the disclosure yesterday in Ibadan, Oyo State, while addressing reporters on the preparations of INEC for next year’s election.

The event was a one-day seminar organised by the Oyo State chapter of the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (ONPAN).

Agboke, who declined to give details of the politicians involved, said he got to know through a security report.

The REC however assured that no politician can get PVCs to buy from INEC.

His words: “Politicians are looking for PVCs to buy. That is the security report we get. They are looking for what is not available.

“They have seen that this election will likely be neck-to-neck. We will allow a process that will not allow anyone to use violence to the disadvantage of another candidate.

“For those looking for PVCs to buy, there is none. No INEC staff will sell PVCs to anybody. We are monitoring all of them and they all know.”

Agboke also alleged that some politicians have requested for the uncollected cards, promising to distribute to owners who they claim are their supporters.

He however, said the commission will never release PVCs to anyone that is not the real owner.

He said INEC rule does not allow collection by proxy.

The REC said voter education and sensitisation being carried out by the umpire have raised the awareness of voters, stressing that politicians have realised that INEC would provide a level-playing ground for every party and candidate.

He said the situation has further made them realise that no political party or candidate can boast of easy victory, which now makes them work and campaign hard for the election.

According to him, a total of 914,529 cards were yet to be collected while only 248,064 have been collected since after the 2015 elections.

He explained that the number of uncollected cards include those belonging to deceased registered voters.

Agboke called on voters to collect their cards, stressing the need for them to play their role in choosing leaders of their choice for the society.

Meanwhile, INEC has raised the alarm that adequate security remains a major concern ahead of the 2019 general elections in the country.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a security training workshop for state training officers organised by The Electoral Institute (TEI), noted that it would be difficult to have peaceful and successful elections without adequate security.

Yakubu, who was represented by INEC National Commissioner, Dr. Mustapha Lecky, emphasised that for a peaceful election to take place, there must be peaceful environment.

According to him, “Security always remains a concern for a massive process like the election which is coming up next year. Without adequate security, you won’t have a peaceful environment for people to exercise their franchise.

“So, security is sine-qua-non. It is very important. It underscores why we holds the workshop for our state trainers who will go back and engage at different levels with all DPOs and their teams to understand the terms of engagement.

“For a peaceful and credible election, we need to secure environment for people to have a very happy and pleasant experience,” he said.

INEC Chairman said though there are challenges in a number of places, but however assured the country that the government is doing everything possible to address the situation.

Yakubu noted, “We know there are challenges in a number of places across the country. We believe the government is doing whatever it can to ensure that it is addressed.

“INEC is not a security outfit. We can only work with the security agencies to ensure that the right thing is done. Nigeria is a very hopeful country. So, we believe that the atmosphere will be secured for credible elections come 2019.”