By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
Ahead of the November 16 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, disclosed on Tuesday that collection of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) in the two states will commence on 2nd September this year.The exercise, according to INEC, will last till 39th of the same month.This is even as the Prof Mahmood Yakubu-led Commission put the total number of uncollected PVCs for Kogi State at 170,644 while that of Bayelsa State stands at 49, 291. These were confirmed in a statement yesterday by Barrister Festus Okoye,National Commissioner and Chairman,Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC in Abuja.The Commission, according to Okoye, will engage faith-based, professional, civil society and community-based organizations to create increased awareness for the collection of PVCs.
Speaking on the issue of the PVC collection, the statement said that the exercise will be suspended in both Bayelsa and Kogi states on 30th September 2019 preparatory to PVC data harvest/audit preceding the publication of the register of voters. A detailed breakdown of collected and uncollected PVCs for the States, the INEC assured, will be published at the end of the exercise.The statement by Okoye reads, “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) met on the 20th August 2019 and reviewed its preparations for the conduct of the Bayelsa and Kogi States Governorship elections scheduled to hold on November 16, 2019 and took the following decisions*The Resident Electoral Commissioners of the two States shall organize stakeholder meetings in the States and Local Governments between the 26th and 30th of August 2019 to sensitize the stakeholders on the modalities for the collection of the Permanent Voters Cards(PVCs) from the Registration Areas and in the various communities.
*The collection of PVCs in the two States will take place at the Registration Areas (RAs)/Wards in each of the Local Governments and Distribution Officers (DOs) trained by the Commission will carry out this assignment.
*There will be two teams of Distribution Officers per Local Government Area and the officers will rotate the distribution of the PVCs in the Registration Areas (RA) or from Community to Community based on a schedule agreed upon by the Resident Electoral Commissioner and the stakeholders.
*The Commission will commence the exercise on the 2nd September 2019, and this will last till the 30th day of September 2019 between 9.00a.m to 3.00 p.m. (Monday to Friday).
*The Resident Electoral Commissioners will provide contacts and telephone numbers where registered voters that have not collected their PVCs can call and make inquiries relating to the collection.
*The Commission will send bulk SMS to the registered voters in the two States that are yet to collect their PVCs and will also display the list of registered voters that are yet to collect their PVCs at the respective State and Local Government offices of the Commission and at other designated public places.According to the statement, “The total number of uncollected PVCs for Kogi State stands at 170,644 while that of Bayelsa State stands at 49, 291.”The Commission will engage faith-based, professional, civil society and community-based organizations to create increased awareness for the collection of PVCs.
“PVC collection will be suspended in both States on 30th September 2019 preparatory to PVC data harvest/audit preceding the publication of the register of voters. A detailed breakdown of collected and uncollected PVCs for the States will be published at the end of the exercise.
“In view of the fact that the Commission now conducts nationwide Continuous Voter Registration(CVR) exercise and the tight timelines and schedule for the conduct of activities relating to the Bayelsa and Kogi Governorship elections, the Commission will not conduct fresh registration of voters, transfer of Voter’s Cards and reprint of damaged or defaced Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs)”, it said.
The Commission therefore appealed to all registered voters who are yet to collect their PVCs to avail themselves of the opportunity to do so during this window to enable them vote at the elections “as it does not intend to entertain any extensions due to the tight statutory timelines that it is bound to adhere to”.
The Commission disclosed that the period within which notice of intention to conduct primaries by political parties for the election of candidates has elapsed and that no further notice of intention to conduct party primaries will be entertained. It added, “Political Parties are hereby reminded that in accordance with the revised Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election issued on 16th May 2019, the last day for the conduct of primaries and resolution of all matters or disputes arising therefrom is Thursday 5th September 2019, while the last day for the submission of lists of candidates and their Personal Particulars (INEC Forms CF001 and CF002) is Monday 9th September 2019 at 6:00pm at INEC Headquarters, Abuja. “Parties are enjoined to ensure compliance with these timelines as no extension or late submission will be entertained”, the statement said.