The Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ) in Akwa Ibom has raised the alarm over 132,078 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Card (PVCs) by electorates in the state.
According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini, the figure comprised old and new PVCs, adding that PVC collection by electorates in the state was very poor.
Speaking yesterday with reporters in Uyo. Igini said out of the 127,267 new PVCs received by the commission and distributed across the state, only 12,881 have been collected leaving an outstanding of 114,386.
“From the old PVCs, out of 18,541 received and distributed, only 849 have been collected, leaving an outstanding of 17,692”, he said.
Igini noted that nationwide, over 7million PVCs were yet to be collected, the REC wondered how the electorates will cast their votes less than 224 days to the commencement of the elections across the country without their PVCs.
He explained that even with the campaigns run in the media on the issue, many people in Uyo, the state capital with the highest number of polling units are yet to collect their PVCs.
The REC charged political parties in the state to employ the strategy used in ensuring the electorates registered during the Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise to visit INEC offices for the collection of their PVCs.
“With respect to the level of Permanent Voters’ Card collection and registration exercise in Akwa Ibom State in particular, what I want you to know is that there are in two broad categories: We have the PVCs that we have produced prior to the 2015 elections up to the time of the commencement of the new Continuous Voter Registration on the 27th of April last year. These Permanent Voters’ Card of 2015 till date which we refer to as the old PVC, the level of turnout is very poor.
“In Akwa Ibom state, we still have a total of 18,541 old permanent voters’ card, out of which we have only distributed 849, leaving a total of 17,692 still uncollected. Similarly, of the new set of PVCs, it may also sadly interest you to know that out of the 127,267 PVCs, we have only distributed 12,881, leaving a total of 114,386 PVC uncollected in this state”.
He called on the political parties and the candidates to begin to endear themselves to the electorates so as to secure their votes, adding that there will be election in every entire polling unit in the state.
Igini warned that the practice of snatching of ballot boxes and ballot sheets will not be tolerated, and where such incidences were to happen, the elections in that place would be cancelled.
“As at today, we have barely six months to the 2019 elections. We have less than 224 days to the opening of the polls in the entire 2,980 polling units that are domicile in the 329 wards of the thirty-one local government areas of Akwa Ibom state where election on the 16th February – National Assembly and the Presidential election will open and thereafter, on the 2nd of March we will be having the governorship and the 26 State Constituency election in Akwa Ibom.
“Here in Akwa Ibom state, the people contesting for office should do well enough to go and campaign, endear themselves to the electorates because in this state, there will be election in the entire polling unit. In this state, nobody should ever think of snatching of ballot boxes or ballot papers because anywhere that ballot boxes or ballot papers are snatched, it is immediately cancelled.
“No result can ever emanate from a polling unit(s) or wards or local governments where ballot papers or results are snatched and taken to anywhere to produce results that will ever be accepted by the commission,” he noted.