INEC Disputes Tinubu’s Claim, Says Previously Issued PVCs Not Expired, Valid for Voting

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•Former Lagos gov urges people to go and register

Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, disputed claims by a former governor of Lagos State and presidential hopeful, Bola Tinubu, that previously issued voters card had expired, saying the claim was false and that the PVCs remained valid for voting in the 2023 general election or any other poll.

Tinubu had, yesterday, called on members of the party to participate in the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) voter registration, because their current PVC has already expired, saying party members and voters alike might not be informed on time.

Tinubu stated this on Tuesday night, when a group of political women paid him a courtesy visit, in Abuja, the capital city.

In a video seen by THISDAY, Tinubu, who had already declared his intention to contest 2023 presidency, called on the women to go back home and educate their people on the need to participate in the ongoing voter registration so as to have valid voter card.

He said it was mandatory for them to register to be able to vote and also achieve their aspirations.

“Tell one family member, two family members, knock on all doors and make sure that new registration, because they might not announce to you on time that the PVC you have has expired. You need to spread it round various local government, wards, no matter how difficult it is.

“To me, I look at it closely and look at other elections held, you see that it is diminishing, because those cards have expired and it is mandatory that you go and register to be able to vote and achieve your aspirations,” he said.

But Prof. Bolade Eyinla, the Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman of INEC, said, “Nigerians, who already have their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) do not need to register again.

“In fact, double registration is an offence under our laws. Eligible Nigerians are entitled to register only once. Once a name appears on the National Register of Voters, it stays there permanently. Nigerians are, therefore, advised not to attempt to register anew if they already have a Permanent Voters Card,” he clarified.

According to Eyinla “This information is not correct. The PVCs issued to all previously registered voters remain valid. This kind of statement will certainly push eligible voters to register more than once, thereby creating the problem of double and multiple registrations.”

Eyinla also urged the media to “Please use your various mediums to help prevent this development.”

Also, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, confirmed that “Nigerians who already have their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) do not need to register again.”

Oyekanmi added: “One of the very few instances where a name could be removed from the Register is if there’s a strong and verifiable proof that the person bearing the name has died.”

Meanwhile, the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday solicited the support of civil society groups to encourage more Nigerians to come out to register or transfer their voters card to where they prefer to cast their votes during subsequent elections.

He spoke at the first quarterly meeting with Civil Society groups at the INEC office.

“The Commission looks forward to the support of civil society organisations to encourage voters, who wish to transfer from their present Polling Units to new ones created as part of the Commission’s expansion of access polling units across the country.

“After all, the support of civil society organisations was crucial to the success of the recent expansion of voter access to polling units for the first time in 25 years since the initial delimitation in 1996.

“As at Monday 17th January 2022, a total of 8,260,076 eligible Nigerians commenced the online pre-registration; completed the registration physically; applied for transfer to new voting locations; requested for replacement of their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs); and updated their voter information records.”

On the February 12 FCT election, Prof. Yakubu said, “I want to draw your attention to the distribution of voters to Polling Units in the FCT, particularly, the fact that 593 out of 2,822 (or 21%) of the total, do not have voters. This is because voters failed to take advantage of the expansion of access to transfer to these new Polling Units.”