“If it happens, it is an illegality and they (APC) should
please report the individual demanding such to INEC.”
The All Progressives Congress, APC, on Monday said that its members in Osun State are being denied their Permanent Voters Cards, PVC, ahead of the August 9 gubernatorial election in the state.
The party said it is a “deliberate attempt” to disenfranchise its members since only those who possess PVCs would be allowed to vote.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has denied the claims, describing it as untrue.
The APC, in a statement issued in Benin on Monday by Lai Mohammed, its National Publicity Secretary, said that INEC had resorted to asking those who throng its offices daily in Osun State which party they belong to, and that almost all those who had identified themselves as APC members had been told their PVCs were not ready.
”This is nothing but systematic rigging from source,” Mr. Mohammed said, adding that such actions would portray INEC as “partisan and bereft of credibility.”
The APC further said that if INEC could not ensure that all prospective voters in the Osun will get their PVCs before the election day, then they should allow all those who could present their temporary voters cards to exercise their franchise on that day.
”Anything short of an urgent resolution of the PVC crisis, which may have been instigated deliberately by unscrupulous elements within INEC, will not augur well for a free, fair and credible election on August 9th,” the APC said.
The party said that since it “first raised the alarm over the PVC shenanigans” in Osun, via a statement it issued on July 6, the situation had gone from bad to worse, without INEC speaking out publicly to refute the charges of deliberately disenfranchising opposition voters in order to give an unfair advantage to the PDP.
”The continued denial of APC members in Osun of their PVCs and the silence of INEC over the issue have given us a serious cause for concern, and we are calling on INEC to resolve the issues we have raised if indeed the commission has no plan to collude with the PDP to rig the Aug. 9th election in Osun,” the party said.
”When the referee decides to play for one of the teams he is supposed to preside over in a critical match, there can be no grounds to continue with the match or repose any confidence in the calls made by the referee. We sincerely hope INEC is listening.
”We also call on local and international observers to take more than a passing interest in the pre-election processes in Osun, especially the issue of whether or not all those who registered to vote are able to do so without a colluding electoral commission preventing them from exercising their franchise,” it said.
However, speaking to PREMIUM TIMES over the phone, INEC said that the APC’s claims are “not true.”
On claims that its officials were demanding to know party affiliation
before issuing PVC, Kayode Idowu, the Commission’s Spokesperson, said that party cards are not a requirement for people to collect their PVCs.
“INEC has never made the party membership card a requirement for
collecting PVC. It is not a requirement. It will never be a requirement,” Mr. Idowu said.
“If it happens, it is an illegality and they (APC) should please report the individual demanding such to INEC,” Mr. Idowu added.
Mr. Idowu said that the requirement for collecting a PVC is to tender the temporary voter’s card, and in cases where the individual had lost his card, he would be made to sign an attestation form before collecting the PVC.
“We started the process of PVC registration in March and as I speak
with you the distribution is still ongoing. And so I do not understand
how party membership becomes a criteria for collecting PVC,” Mr. Idowu
“Those that registered in March, their voters cards will be distributed in a matter of days at the polling unit level.
“And those that registered before March can go to the INEC office at the local government level to collect their cards.
“We are not allowing proxy collection. We insist that the owner of the
card must come in person to collect his card,” Mr. Idowu added.
Though there are many candidates contesting the Osun election, the battle is believed to be between the incumbent governor and APC candidate, Rauf Aregbesola, and the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Iyiola Omisore.