The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has expressed concern about some politicians who have been purchasing Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, and paying gullible electors to provide their Voter Identification Numbers.
During the launch of the #YourVoteMatters project by an election observer group, NESSACTION, in Abuja on Monday, Mohammed Haruna, the acting chairman of INEC and national commissioner in charge of the FCT, Nasarawa, Kaduna, and Plateau states, raised the alarm by revealing that two people had just been found guilty of illegally possessing PVCs in the states of Sokoto and Kano.
The project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and the International Foundation for Electoral System (IFES), aims to help INEC increase the number of PVCs collected in advance of the 2023 general elections as well as the number of voters mobilized on election day.
The INEC National Commissioner also cautioned the electorates to refrain from jeopardizing the ownership of their PVCs.
He said, “We are aware some politicians are more or less buying the PVCs. If you collect the PVC and then you sell it out or allow someone else to have it, you are aiding illegal possession of the PVC which is an offence in our Electoral Act.
“Some of you are aware that only recently, INEC managed to convict two people who were found guilty of illegal possession of PVC’s in Kano and Sokoto. So, I urge people to connect their PVCs, keep it safely, and make sure that on election day, you go out there and cast youtr votes because, of course, without your PVC you cannot vote.”
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director of NESSACTION, Ambassador Eniola Cole, explained that the project slated for implementation in the FCT, Nasarawa, and Plateau states, will provide logistics to incentivise communities with low PVC collection rates.
She commended INEC for gains made in the electoral process through technology and other reforms.
“We implore the general public to take advantage of the timeframe set by INEC for PVC collection at the Commission’s LGA offices nationwide from December 12, 2022 to January 5, 2023, and at the 8809 Registration Areas from January 6, 2023 to January 22, 2023 including Saturdays and Sundays.
“The public can, through dedicated channels, inform us of their location in order to receive support including the PVC collection buses and community outreach activities to be conducted at the local level in each state by our community mobilisation officers,” she said.