Officials of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of not distributing the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCS) to their members to enable them to exercise their civic rights in the forthcoming general election.
The group also accused agents of some political parties of inducing potential voters with money and collecting their PVCs in the area. SOKAPU, therefore, urged INEC to immediately wade into the problems surrounding the issuance of PVCs in order not to discredit the outcome of the polls.
In a statement issued by the Acting President of the Union, Comrade Elisha Rosi, yesterday, SOKAPU said: “We observed with concern very worrying issues concerning the collection of PVCs in Kaduna State. We have been inundated with complaints that officials of INEC at some PVCs collection centres in some Local Government Areas (LGAs) in some urban areas of Kaduna State are making it difficult for citizens to get their PVCs.
“For hours citizens would besiege collection centres just to be told to return the next day or that their polling units have been changed to places where it will be impossible for them to access on election days due to restriction of movements.
“At the same time, it has been shown that at certain PVCs centres, especially in our rural areas, there are large uncollected PVCs. Again, there are agents of some politicians who have been going around collecting PVCs of unsuspecting persons and paying them sums of money. Anyone who forfeits his voter’s card out of financial inducement is not only doing himself and his future a great disservice, but is also culpable in the criminal act.”
Rosi urged residents of the state to report anyone who asks for their PVCs in exchange for money to the police. He added: “Southern Kaduna must take advantage of the 2022 Amended Electoral Act, which has added much integrity to future elections in Nigeria. It is our firm believe that with the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BIVAS), it will be very difficult to compromise future elections.
“Therefore, it is very unacceptable that our citizens seeking to exercise their franchise are being dribbled around by INEC officials. We call upon INEC to look into this allegation and take serious steps to arrest this misconduct if found true.
“Our members should also lay official complaints to INEC in areas where the collection of the PVCs has been deliberately made difficult. As for our members who are reluctant to go and collect their PVCs, they must know that they will have no moral right to complain should candidates that are not of their choices emerge winners. And the situation which Southern Kaduna, and indeed the entire Nigeria has found itself, every of our members that is of voting age cannot afford to show indifference.
“Therefore, we call on all our members, home and outside Kaduna State, to do everything legally permissible to collect their PVCs and get ready for the 2023 general election. Those who have theirs ready should ensure their safety and come out in large numbers and cast their votes.”