•Says 65m PVCs released, expects 3.8 million today
•You’re plotting to postpone polls, APC accuses PDP, Presidency
•IG orders crack-down on pre-election trouble makers
By Clifford Ndujihe, Kingsley Omonobi, Evelyn Usman & Umar Yusuf
LAGOS—THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, enjoined those who fear that non -availability of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) will hurt next month’s general elections to have a rethink. Reason: All the cards have been printed and are ready for collection.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, on Wednesday after a four-hour meeting in Akure, country home of its chairman, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, lamented that more than 15 million voters had not collected their cards and 14 million voters cards were yet to arrive the country.
It said non-distribution of 30 million PVCs, about half of the over 60 million registered voters will not lead to a credible election.
Indeed, the polity has been awash with hiccups trailing the collection of the PVCs, which prompted calls for postponement of the polls from some quarters.
Speaking on the issues, yesterday, in a phone chat with Vanguard, Mr Kayode Idowu, Chief Press Secretary to INEC National Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said it was not true that 14 million PVCs were yet to be printed.
His words: “All the PVCs have been printed. Altogether, 68.8 PVCs were printed. We have received 65 million PVCs which are out for distribution. The remaining 3.8 million PVCs will be out there between tomorrow (today) and Friday.”
To ensure hitch-free polls, INEC urged would-be-voters who are yet to collect their PVCs to do so, warning those without the cards not to come to the polling booths during the polls.
Speaking at a stakeholders consultative meeting towards a successful and violence-free 2015 election, hosted by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, the Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Akin Orebiyi, threatened to arrest those found around polling units on election day without voters cards.
So far, Orebiyi, disclosed that out of more than four million voters whose PVCs are ready, only 2.3 million had collected, appealing to those who are yet to collect theirs to do so as quickly as possible.
“There are various categories of people affected by the PVCs; those who registered in 2011 and whose PVCs are ready for collection now — they should go and collect them if they have not; those who registered in 2011, who saw their names on the displayed register at the polling units — their cards are on the way; those who registered in 2011 but who, for one reason or the other, their data are not on INEC’s records ought to have re-registered; those who registered in 2014 – their cards are on the way, if they have not arrived.
“Those who registered in one particular place and have moved to another location and would like to vote in the new place – they ought to have requested for transfer. If they have, this must have been effected. If not, they can only vote where they registered originally.
“Those who did not re-register when they ought to, we have no PVC for you. Stay at home on election day. Those who never registered and are willing to register now- the registration window is closed. Stay at home on election day”
He revealed that stringent measures such as the provision of a Smart Card Reader had been introduced by INEC, with a view to ensuring there were no rigging by any means. Orebiyi highlighted part of the benefits of the Smart Card Reader to include; detecting fake or cloned PVCs; ensuring no elector uses another person’s PVC, ensure an elector does not vote in more than one place as well as to check inflation of result figures.
Other measures on ground according to him, included the numbering of sensitive materials such as ballot papers which he said are in serial numbers, while the ballot boxes of each local government are colour coded.
This came as the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Presidency of plotting to postpone the February general polls.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has ordered immediate crack down on political thugs and miscreants perpetrating mayhem for immediate prosecution no matter their status in the society as the Lamido of Adamawa, Muhammadu Bakindo Aliyu Musdafa, urged politicians to embrace peace and pelt their opponents with votes instead of stones.
PDP, Presidency plotting to postpone polls
While the allegations and counter-allegations against the genuineness of the WASCE certificate of the APC presidential Candidate, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (ret) continue, the party has accused the PDP and the Presidency of orchestrating the on-going campaign for election postponement, despite their serial denial and assurances that they are ready for the polls.
The APC said in a statement in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that “There is no clearer indication that the PDP and the Presidency are the puppeteers behind the election shift campaign of Wednesday’s newspaper advertorial.
“This advert, which has the picture of President Goodluck Jonathan and the logo of the PDP — meaning they will be the sole beneficiaries of the postponement they are seeking — leaves no one in doubt that the ruling party and the Presidency are pathologically dishonest, deliberately deceptive and chronically terrified about the elections.”
While urging its members and supporters in particular, and all Nigerians in general to remain vigilant and firm in saying ‘no’ to election postponement, the APC appealed to the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN) to ensure that the courts are not used as a tool to sabotage the elections and indeed the nation’s democracy.
IG’s riot act to trouble-makers
The Inspector-General of Police has ordered that miscreants and thugs causing untold discomfort for supporters and actors of opposing political parties in the on-going political campaigns be dealt with.
Vanguard gathered that reopening of courts by judicial workers necessitated the IGP’s order.
Several suspects were arrested in connection with perpetration of violence during political campaigns at different locations in Katsina, Bauchi, Rivers and Plateau states which contravenes Section 227 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Sections 94 and 95 of the Electoral Act.
A statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, CP Emmanuel Ojukwu noted that “while the IGP advises politicians to play the game by the rules, the Nigeria Police will not condone any act of hooliganism from any quarter.”