By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will begin the disrtribution of 219,935 uncollected Personal Voter Cards (PVCs) in Bayelsa and Kogi on Sept. 2 preparatory to governorship elections in the states
The commission announced this in a statement issued by Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee on Tuesday in Abuja.
Okoye said that total number of uncollected PVCs for Kogi stood at 170,644 while that of Bayelsa were 49, 291 cards.
The national commissioner said that the decision was taken on Tuesday when the commission met and reviewed its preparations for the conduct of the states’ elections, scheduled for Nov. 16.
Okoye said that the collection which would end on Sept. 30, would take place at the Registration Areas (RAs)/Wards in each of the local governments and Distribution Officers (DOs) between 9.a.m to 3.p.m from Monday to Friday.
He said that there would be two teams of Distribution Officers per local goverment, adding that the officers would rotate the distribution of the PVCs in the RAs or from community to community, based on a schedule agreed upon by the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) and the stakeholders.
“The Resident Electoral Commissioners will provide contacts and telephone numbers where registered voters that have not collected their PVCs can call and make inquiries relating to the collection.
“The commission will send bulk short messages to the registered voters in the two states that have yet to collect their PVCs.
“The commission will also display the list of registered voters that have yet to collect their PVCs at the respective state and local government offices of the commission and at other designated public places,” he said.
Okoye added that the commission woild engage faith-based, professional, civil society and community-based organisations to create increased awareness for the collection of PVCs.
“PVC collection will be suspended in both states on Sept. 30 preparatory to PVC data harvest/audit preceding the publication of the register of voters.
“A detailed breakdown of collected and uncollected PVCs for the states will be published at the end of the exercise,” he explained.
He said that the Commission would not conduct fresh registration of voters, transfer of voter’s cards and reprint of damaged or defaced PVCs in the states.
This, according to him, is in view of the fact that the commission now conducts nationwide Continuous Voter Registration(CVR) and the tight timelines and schedule for the conduct of activities relating to the state governorship elections.
“The commission appeals to all registered voters who have yet to collect their PVCs to avail themselves of the opportunity to do so during this window to enable them vote at the elections.
“This critical as INEC does not intend to entertain any extensions due to the tight statutory timelines that it is bound to adhere to,” he said.
He said that the RECs of the two states ought to organise stakeholder meetings in the states and local governments between the Aug. 26th and Aug. 30 to sensitise the stakeholders to the modalities for the collection of the PVCs.
Okoye also disclosed INEC would not entertain further notice of intention by political parties to conduct primaries as the period within which notice of intention to conduct primaries for the election of candidates had elapsed.
He reminded political parties that in accordance with the revised Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election issued on May 16, the last day for the conduct of primaries and resolution of all matters or disputes arising therefrom is Sept 5.
He also said that the last day for the submission of lists of candidates and their Personal Particulars (INEC Forms CF001 and CF002) is Monday Sept. 9 at 6 pm at INEC Headquarters, Abuja.
“Parties are enjoined to ensure compliance with these timelines as no extension or late submission will be entertained,” he said.