2023: Civil Society Groups express worry about PVC distribution, profer solutions

Barely sixty days to the 2023 elections, Civil Society coalition wants election management body to extend PVC collection date extended for as long as INEC can not ensure that all registered citizens can pick up their PVCs without tears
admin6 months ago7 min

Barely sixty days to the 2023 elections, Civil Society coalition raises concerns about INEC’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for PVC distibution, wants election management body to extend collection date for as long as it can not ensure that all registered citizens can pick up their PVCs without tears

 

PVC

 

“You cannot live a normal existence if you have not taken care of a problem that affects your life and affects the lives of others; that is the value you hold which in fact defines your very existence.” –  Wole Soyinka

 

 A coalition of civil society organisations has raised concerns about the processes associated with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s distribution of the permanent voters card (PVC) ahead of the 2023 election.

The organisations include the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), ConnectHub, Enough is Enough Nigeria, #FixPolitics and Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI). The others are The Electoral College Nigeria, Women Advocates and Research Development Centre (WARDC), and Yiaga Africa.

They bemoaned the fact that INEC did not have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for PVC Collection until the week of December 5th despite the agitations of citizens who continued to visit the INEC Local Governments offices and would be told to come back.

“In addition, in some places where cards are available, registered voters express frustration with the disorderliness and cumbersome nature of the PVC collection process. In other locations, there seems to be extortion, as was recorded and shared on Twitter by @samking10011 from the INEC office in Uvwie Local Government, Delta State,” part of the statement read.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Decides: 100 Days to go, INEC restates loyalty to Nigerians

 

 

They also expressed worry that despite nationwide publicity that the cards would be made available at INEC’s local government offices from Monday, December 12 2022; many Nigerians have had to waste money and time to visit INEC’s offices around the country, only to be told that their cards are not ready and they should come back.

Referencing statements by the Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, on June 25 2022, at the Youth Vote Count Mega Concert in Abuja, the CSOs noted that he had promised that cards for those newly registered would be available in October. This, they say, was further corroborated by its Committee Chairman on Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, who announced that cards for those who registered before June 30 would be ready in October, while cards for those who registered in July would be ready in November.

Stressing that there are high expectations for this election and that INEC can not be seen to be deliberately or inadvertently disenfranchising certain groups of people, they urged the Election Management Body to make public the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for PVC Collection as the public is unaware of its contents.

The coalition also urged INEC to enable registered voters check online and/or via USSD if their card is ready for pick up and the exact location of the card amongst other demands.

 

READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

 

“On Saturday, June 25th, at the Youth Vote Count Mega Concert in Abuja, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof M Yakubu, said that cards for those newly registered would be available in October.[1]  On Sunday, July 31st, the INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, announced that cards for those who registered between January 16 and June 30th will be ready in October, while cards for those who registered in July will be ready in November. In the month of November, no formal announcement was made that the date had been moved to December.

INEC did not have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for PVC Collection until the week of December 5th despite the agitations of citizens who continued to visit the INEC Local Governments offices and would be told to come back. For those who registered in 2021 or previously, if their cards were not found, no effort was made to solve the problem.

In a statement issued by Festus Okoye on Friday, December 2nd, INEC announced that PVCs for all registered voters would be ready from Monday, December 12th at INEC’s local government offices[3]. Unfortunately, Nigerians again have had to waste money and time to visit INEC’s offices around the country, only to be told that their cards are not ready and they should come back.

In addition, in some places where cards are available, registered voters express frustration with the disorderliness and cumbersome nature of the PVC collection process. In other locations, there seems to be extortion, as was recorded and shared on Twitter by @samking10011 from the INEC office in Uvwie Local Government, Delta State.

In light of the above, we ask that INEC do the following:

1)   Ensure that its Citizens’ Contact Centre works optimally.

2)  Create a dedicated desk for civil society organisations, media and citizens to escalate the issues being observed for quick resolution. Also, increase proactive information dissemination, especially when previously announced timelines change.

3)  Create a mechanism to report INEC officials engaged in extortion or deliberately sharing misleading information to disenfranchise.

4)  Contact ALL citizens that were deleted due to double registration or any other issue, so they do not waste time and resources looking for their PVCs. For those whose new registration was deleted and the old one retained, contact them, so they know the correct location to pick up their PVCs.

5)  Make public the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for PVC Collection as the public is unaware of its contents.

6)  Enable registered voters to check online and/or via USSD if their card is ready for pickup and the exact location of the card. For those who just registered, contact them directly via email or SMS when their cards are ready. This will help to control the crowd at INEC’s offices and decrease the unnecessary expenses and stress for citizens.

7)      Extend PVC Collection for every day that INEC has been unprepared. As of today, PVC Collection should end on Sunday, January 27th. This will continue to be moved up for as long as INEC can not ensure that all registered citizens can pick up their PVCs without tears.

There are high expectations for this election and INEC can not be seen to be deliberately or inadvertently disenfranchising certain groups of people.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!”

 

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