Over 241, 715 Permanent Voter Cards have yet to be collected by the voters in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states two weeks to the October 9, 2023 deadline issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the collection of the cards ahead of the November 11 off-cycle governorship polls in the three states.
While 107,715 voter cards were awaiting collection in Kogi, no fewer than 134,000 had yet to be claimed by prospective voters in Imo State. However, the figure of unclaimed PVCs cards in Bayelsa State was unavailable.
The electoral commission has, however, said it will not extend the PVCs collection in the states and admonished registered voters not to delay in picking up their cards.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi and the Kogi State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Gabriel Longpet, both affirmed in separate interviews with The PUNCH, that there was no going back on the October 9 deadline.
They cautioned the concerned electorates against waiting till the last minute to collect their PVCs.
The INEC had fixed the governorship elections in the three states to November 11 in which 18 parties are fielding candidates.
At its regular meeting held on June 6, the commission approved the final list of candidates for the three off-cycle governorship elections and also uploaded it to its website and social media platforms.
The list of candidates was also published in INEC’s state and local government offices in the affected states on June 8 ahead of the statutory deadline of June 9.
The list indicated that all the 18 political parties are fielding candidates in Kogi State, 17 in Imo State and 16 in Bayelsa State.
The list also showed that two political parties are fielding female candidates in Kogi and Bayelsa State, but none in Imo State.
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State is seeking re-election, likewise his counterpart in Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, while Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State is rounding off his second term and is supporting the All Progressives Congress candidate, Usman Ododo.
Responding to inquiries from one of our correspondents, Oyekanmi noted that the ongoing PVC collection exercise was only for registered voters in the three states who could not collect their PVCs before the suspension of the exercise on February 5, 2023.
He advised the registered voters to collect their PVCs on time, stressing that ‘’The commission is not considering an extension of the PVC collection exercise at this point.’’
He added, ‘’Registered voters who are yet to collect their PVCs still have two weeks to do so. From our experience, more people tend to take action close to the deadline, which is not a good habit. It will exert much undue pressure on our state offices, which is also unfair. The earlier voters collect their PVCs, the better.”
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