By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
As we approach the general elections in the country, the Administrative Secretary, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Kaduna, Awwal M. Mashi has said that 85 per cent of the newly registered permanent voter cards (PVCs) have been successfully distributed to their rightful owners in the state.
He also added that, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) is a perfect machine to work within the coming elections as it cannot be tempered by any unscrupulous individuals who may be induced by politicians with deep pockets.
The INEC officer, made it known when he hosted a team of civil society organisation called Voter Education Initiatives led by Barrister Chris Nnoli, which has gone to brief the electoral body of its readiness to observe the general elections.
The INEC man decried the attitude of some Nigerians who threw all the warnings against multiple registrations during the recently suspended continuous voter registration across the country.
To him, “when we started the continuous voter registration on June 28, 2021, before it was suspended on July 31, 2022, which is 13 months, we were doing the registration properly and we were telling people not to do double registration.
“But, they think they could break the law and get away with it forgetting that time has changed. Some of those that are claiming not to have their cards may have a genuine reason. But, the vast majority don’t have their cards because they did double registration.
“We have a situation where an individual registered 52 times. So, about 95 percent of those who registered but didn’t see their cards did multiple registrations. For those whose cards are missing genuinely and lodged their complaint, their cards were brought a few days ago and have been distributed to their LGs.
“As I’m talking to you, as of yesterday (February 1) The report indicated that the 408,000 is for the fresh registrants. Then another 224,000 are for those on transfer. We have less than 100,000 representing about 115 percent of PVC yet to be collected”, he said.
Earlier, Barrister Nnoli appreciated the leadership of INEC towards obtaining perfect, free, and fair election activities come February 25 and March 11 2023 in the country.
“For instance, INEC had always tried to ensure Nigerians are fully engaged in
registration of voters, and collection of PVCS by extension of the period of so doing.
“Again, INEC presented registered voters lists to political parties (indicating 93.47 Million Registered Voters) and brought, up usage and introduction of BVAS designed to read PVcs, verify, authenticate voters, proof of voting eligibility at polling units, and upload the polling units results to the INEC
result viewing portal (IREV) on election days.
“All these are for the proper, free, and fair election of our country. We are appreciative and pray to Almighty God to continue guiding our electoral leaders for the betterment of elections in Nigeria and obtaining of Leaders for our Country Nigeria.
“We as Voter Education Initiates are participants towards educating Nigerians who are 18 and above on the importance of registration as voters, collection of PVCs, enlightening Nigerians on the need to fully participate in all electoral activities.
“We are creating the enabling knowledge on the need to shun all types of electoral malpractices, boycotts, voter apathy, electoral disturbances, buying and selling of votes before and during elections.
“On election days, we are ready to observe the elections in most polling units in assistance and collaboration with INEC in ensuring perfect elections in our country Nigeria and heartily plead with the Chairman of the branch to allow our members to participate in so doing. We are not politicians but only interested in ensuring the good of all election activities in Nigeria”, he notified the commission.