INEC: Political Actors Buying PVCs from Voters

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Mahmood Yakubu
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

We have been vindicated, says PDP 84,004,084 voters to decide winners in general election

Iyobosa Uwugiaren and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

With 38 days to the general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday said it has credible information that political actors are going round buying Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs), and financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) on their PVCs.

The electoral body also stated that after the mandatory display of voters’ registers in all polling units nationwide for claims and objections from November 6 – 12, 2018, the final register for the 2019 general election stands at 84,004,084 million voters.

Reacting swiftly to the alarm raised by INEC on the PVCs buying, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council yesterday said it had been vindicated, adding that it had raised the alarm severally over the fact that the APC and its agents had been involved in the act of buying PVCs, particularly those that were yet to be collected.

The INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, raised the alarm yesterday in Abuja at the Quarterly Consultative Meeting with political parties, where the commission presented the 2019 voters’ register and electoral guidelines to the parties.

“A new method of vote buying is being devised. We have received credible information that some partisan actors are now going round buying up Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) from voters and financially inducing them to collect the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) on their PVCS’’, the INEC boss stated.
“In some instances, telephone numbers and details of bank accounts of voters have been collected. By collecting the PVCs, their intention may be to deprive the voters of voting — since no one can vote without the PVC.

“By collecting their phone numbers and bank details, the intention is to induce voters by electronic transfer of funds to their accounts since it will be difficult to buy votes at polling units. By collecting the VINs, they may be acting on the mistaken notion that our system can be hacked into and the card readers somehow preloaded ahead of election and compromised.

Yakubu reassured the political parties that there was no change in the number of polling units and voting points used for 2015 general elections and the 2016 Area Councils elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), noting that any information to the contrary is utterly baseless and should be disregarded.
He also advised the leaders of political parties to start compiling the lists of party agents for submission, not later than 14 days to the election, in line with the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general election.

He noted that the deadline for Presidential and National Assembly elections remains February 1, 2019, while Governorship, State Assembly and FCT Area Council elections, is February 16, 2019.
Yakubu added that after the mandatory display of voters in all polling units nationwide for claims and objections from 6th -12th November 2018, the final register for the 2019 general election stands at 84,004,084 million voters.

A breakdown of the voters’ register revealed that South-south has 12,841,279 voters; South-east, 10,052,236 voters; South-west, 16,292,212; North-west, 20,158,100 voters; North-east, 11,289,293 voters; while North-central has 13, 366,070. Also, female voters constitute 47.14 per cent — which is 39,598,645 voters; while male voters constitute 52.85 per cent which is 44,405,439 voters.

The youth (18-35) constitutes 51.11 per cent, which is 42,938,458 voters, while middle age (36-50) constitutes 29.97 per cent, which is 25,176,144; elderly (51-70) constitutes 15.22 per cent, which amounts to 3,100,971 voters; while the old (70+) constitutes 3.69 per cent, which equally amounts to 3,100,971 voters.
Yakubu emphasised that the commission would use Smart Card Readers for the general election, stressing that the function of the Smart Card Readers during accreditation is to confirm, verify and authenticate the voter.

He explained, “If the fingerprint is not authenticated by the card reader but the PVC is confirmed as genuine and the voter’s personal details are consistent with manual register, he/she shall be allowed to vote.
“However, where the biometric authentication fails, the voter will be required to thumbprint a box next to his/her picture on the register and to enter his/her mobile telephone number before proceeding to vote.

“The separate Incident Form used in previous is now abolished. Similarly, the claim that the card reader has been enhanced to recapture voters’ fingerprints at polling units and automatically overwrite the biometric record on our database is untrue and should be disregarded.”
Speaking with THISDAY last night, one of the spokesmen for PDP Presidential Council, Prince Kassim Afegbua said that PDP has been vindicated.
“The party has been raising alarm over the fact that the APC and its agents have allegedly been involved in the act of buying voters card or PVC particularly those that were yet to be collected.

“The APC has been indulging in this act using the Tradermoni platform as avenue to cultivate voters and buy off their voters’ cards with the sole purpose of using them to rig the 2019 election, knowing full well that the PDP has been popularly accepted as the party to beat.
“The revelation coming from INEC leadership today at the meeting with political parties is a further vindication of our earlier position’’, Prince Afegbua added.