The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says registered voters have up till end of January 2015 to pick up their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) before the general elections.
Mr Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the desperation and agitation being expressed by some people over the distribution of PVCs were unnecessary.
He said that the distribution at the polling units was not the end of the exercise.
“People tend to forget that if the distribution ends today does not mean it is the last opportunity people have to collect their cards.
“The opportunity remains the end of January 2015 for them to pick it up at the local government offices of the commission.
“Where most people must have collected at the polling units, the few that are left will now have the opportunity to pick it up at their continent.
“This process has in-built mechanism to cater for everybody and people should have that in mind.’’
Idowu said that the commission also acknowledged the various challenges in the distribution of voter cards in some states, adding that was why the commission granted bracket extension in some states.
“If you recall, the exercise was supposed to end on Sunday but was extended in Lagos, Ogun and Kano toMonday.
“ There is now a case-by-case appraisal and that is why the exercise is already being extended till Tuesday in Mushin Local Government Area in Lagos. This case by case appraisal is ongoing.’’
Idowu said that the experienced challenges in the distribution of cards, including data lost, were not peculiar to any state.
He said that the issue of data losses might arise from disk crashes or defective data losses – when less than two fingers print of a registered voter was not captured.
“We have had data losses in most states across the country and our response to data losses or defective data losses have been proactive.
“We said that if PVC will be of any use, there is an embedded chip inside it; if somebody record does not have the finger print, there is no point of printing the card.
“At the same time, we don’t say that you don’t have opportunity to vote; what we have been doing is to say come out to reregister when we are doing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).’’
Idowu said in Lagos the commission had about 1,700 polling units that were affected, saying it had taken necessary steps.
“INEC says in other areas of the state, it will be doing CVR at the ward level but for these polling units where substantial number of data is lost, the commission will come down to the polling units to capture the data again.
“That does not suggest that we want to disenfranchise any voter.
“People should understand that these are technical issues and the commission has built in redress mechanism in the process so that everybody can be attended to.’’
He, however, advised voters yet to collect their PVC to go to INEC local government offices to get their cards, adding that for logistic reasons, CVR could not be opened till the election time.