•Report by Kamil Opeyemi
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has insisted that any eligible Voter without Voters’ Card should not in anyway move to close to where the exercise is taking place.
Director Voter Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Victor Aluko, said this while featuring on Channels Television’s The 2023 Verdict on Friday evening.
He said the commission had not reviewed its position, describing as fake news, reports that people could approach the polling units without their voter cards.
“INEC has not reviewed that slogan. No PVC, no voting. It still subsists. And we have been drumming into the ears of Nigerians, that they should please ignore these social media posts that are circulating everywhere. Today, when our chairman was responding, he just said it’s fake news. And of course, there are a lot of fake news around today.
“At election periods like these, we should let Nigerians have the facts, the basic facts, so that it would help their participation. If you do not have the PVC, you cannot even come to our polling units. The election officials will not allow you to join the queue. And if you want to forcefully come into the place, the Presiding Officer will inform the security agencies to deal with the person.
“So, it is good that we deal with the facts, it is good that we follow what INEC has said, rather than what some fake INEC officials are saying. No PVC, no voting. PVC is at the centre of our operations.”
Aluko added that the commission was expecting only the 87.2 million voters who had their PVCs at the polls, adding that those who could not get the cards, would have to wait to vote at the next elections cycle.
“87.2 million Nigerians have PVCs, out of 93.4 million registered voters. Those are the people we are expecting in our polling units. Anybody who was not able to collect the PVC, it is not a crime. In future, they can still collect their PVCs and vote, life continues, there will be life after these elections.
“During the CVR, we encouraged those who lost their cards, even those whose cards were spoilt, just tell us in INEC, we will give you another one free of charge. So, those who did so, got new cards. Anybody who did not do so, did not want to do, and so in future they can still do that.
“If out of the 87.2 million Nigerians who have PVCs, if we can get 80% of them to vote tomorrow, that will be a great thing for the country. We are ready to receive them at our polling units. So, we are preparing for those who have PVCs, and we are not really bothered at this time, about those who do not have PVCs. So, if you don’t have PVC, don’t even come to the polling unit,” he said.
INEC has scheduled the Presidential and National Assembly elections for Feb. 25th while Governorship and State Assembly will be holding on March 11th respectively.
In its preparations for the elections, INEC, had disclosed that Nigeria’s voter register totals 94 million, and no fewer than 87.2 million of them have obtained their permanent voter cards (PVCs) in anticipation of the nationwide vote today as well as on March 11 for the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
No fewer than 4,241 contenders are slugging it out at the polls for the only 470 federal elective offices on the ballot while the presidential race is populated by 18 hopefuls and their running mates.
On the legislative side, INEC listed 1,101 candidates in the running for 109 senatorial seats, while 3,122 candidates would vie for 360 House of Representatives seats.
In total, 4,223 candidates were initially expected to contest 469 federal legislative offices.
However, that number will see a slight drop with INEC’s suspension of the poll in the Enugu East senatorial district over the gruesome murder of the Labour Party candidate, Oyibo Chukwu, three days ago.
The Enugu East election has been postponed to March 11.