Edo guber: Over 200,000 PVCs still uncollected – INEC 

 

Ahead of the September 21 governorship election in Edo state, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on leaders of political parties to mobilise the legitimate owners of 200,000 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to collect them.

He made the call in Benin city, at a meeting between the party leaders and members of the Edo state chapter of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), held at the INEC state office.

Prof. Yakubu said while the party leaders galvanised their supporters into taking advantage of the ongoing voter registration, they should not forget the over 200,000 uncollected PVCs waiting to be picked up by their owners.

He said: “Beyond the CVR (Continuous Voter Registration) I want to appeal to political parties in Edo State. Just as you are mobilising your supporters to register, also mobilise them to collect their PVCs. We have over 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Edo state. 

“These are for persons who have already registered. What is standing between them and voting is just to pick up their PVCs. Please mobilise them to go and pick up their PVCs. The real challenge is for people who have registered to go and collect their PVCs and vote.”  

At the same time, he told the party leaders to shun violence and play by the rules. He said the continuing evolvement of the country’s electoral process would make it pointless for any party or candidate to employ violence with the intention of gaining undue advantage.

He commended the parties for their peaceful conduct since the ban on campaigns was lifted on the 24th of April, but frowned at the reported incidence of shooting at some CVR centers in the state.

The INEC Chairman said: “I wouldn’t be tired of advising political parties to obey the rules of the game. Violence doesn’t pay anybody anywhere, and in this day and age, there is no way you can take advantage of the process through violence.

He averred that the Commission, under his leadership, had conducted two successive governorship elections in Edo state in 2016 and 2020, while the September version would be the third. He said: “I want to remind you that this Commission in particular has had a long-standing experience in handling governorship elections in Edo state. 

“This is going to be our third governorship election in Edo state. I was here in 2016 ahead of the governorship election. I was here nearly four years ago in 2020 ahead of the last governorship election, and I’m here again ahead of the forthcoming governorship election. 

He observed that political parties and their candidates had shown commitment to the process through their peaceful conduct in the past, urging them to replicate their good behaviour during the September 21 governorship election. He also recalled that before the 2016 and 2020 elections, there was tension throughout the State. But in the end, the election was conducted peacefully on both occasions.

His words: “I must commend political parties. So far, the build-up to the 2024 governorship election in Edo state has been the most peaceful. I know what we went through in 2016 when the election had to be postponed, and I also know what happened in 2020. It was as if the world was coming to an end in Edo state. But you will also agree with me that in the aftermath of the governorship election, citizens of Nigeria in Edo state started dancing on the streets over the professional manner with which the election was conducted.”

Prof. Yakubu also underscored the Commission’s neutrality in the electoral process. “INEC has no candidate in this election,” he affirmed. “We are not a political party. The last two elections were actually won by two different political parties. The next election will actually be won by one of you sitting here. Only the people of Edo can determine who becomes their next governor and we will make sure that their choices are protected.”

In an appeal to the party leaders, he said:“We have done it before. Let’s continue to keep the peace and do things peacefully. I must tell you that I am encouraged by the current atmosphere. The ban on campaigns was lifted on the 24th of April;  we are now going into June and so far, so good. But let’s maintain the peace.”