- As hoodlums snatch 4, 503 PVCs in A’Ibom
By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to include in its election guidelines for the 2015 general elections a provision allowing registered voters with the temporary voters’ card whose names are on record to vote during the elections.
This is just as the INEC has lost 4,503 Permanent Voter Cards to hoodlums in five local government areas of Akwa Ibom State.
The House in a motion by the Rep Femi Gbajabiamila (APC Lagos), said with the general elections just four weeks away, or 31 days from now, it is very unlikely that the commission will be able to distribute the permanent voters’ cards to all registered and eligible voters before the elections.
He expressed concern that the current position of the commission that only voters with the permanent voters’ cards are qualified to vote is not realistic, adding that many registered and eligible voters will be disenfranchised in the 2015 general elections if INEC insists on use of PVC to the detriment of the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
He also noted that for the purpose of the said elections, INEC has been issuing permanent voters’ card to eligible voters in replacement of the temporary voters cards issued to them about four years ago.
Also, the House has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the allegations by the Department of State Security Service (DSS), over unauthorized hacking of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC data base, allegedly by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
A motion under matters of urgent national importance read by Rep Leo Ogor (PDP Delta), said such allegation at heels of election period shouldn’t be treated with levity and most be thoroughly investigated.
He noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC is vested by the Nigerian Constitution with the responsibility to carry out the functions of conducting elections into elective positions in the country, therefore its data base may contain highly sensitive data which, if compromised, could cast heinous aspersions on the integrity of the forthcoming elections.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the House which has constituted a high power committee to investigate the allegation and report back within two weeks.
Akwa Ibom State, Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Austin Okojie, disclosed yesterday that hoodlums carted away 4,503 PVCS from five local governments in the State,explaining that of the 4,503 PVCs snatched, Abak LGA lost 664; Ikono, 96; Mkpat Enin, 208; Oruk Anam, 2333; and Ukanafun, 1202 to hoodlums.
Okojie, who addressed traditional rulers during a state summit on peaceful conduct of 2015 elections in Uyo on Tuesday, revealed that 1,468,780 permanent voter cards were sent to the state.
“We had a security issue where a total of 4,503 of the permanent voter cards were snatched during the exercise in five local government areas of Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
He said that 1,177,910, representing 80% of PVCs have been distributed, leaving a balance of 284,915 to be claimed.
The commissioner, however, assured that with the introduction of card readers to authenticate real owners of each voting card, no snatched card will be useful during the elections as cheats would be screened out of the exercise.