The collection of permanent voters cards by millions of Nigerians yet to do so will continue up to a week before the 2019 general elections, the electioral commission, INEC, has said.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said this on Thursday at a meeting with resident electoral commissioners from the 36 states.
“The collection of PVCs will continue until one week to the 2019 general elections. We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens,” he said.
Details of Mr Yakubu’s speech at the meeting held in Abuja was sent to PREMIUM TIMES by his office.
In the speech, Mr Yakubu also speaks on the commission’s preparedness for the Osun election on September 22 as well as cleaning of the voters’ register.
Read the full speech below.
REMARKS BY HONOURABLE CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROF. MAHMOOD YAKUBU, AT A REGULAR MEETING WITH THE RESIDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS, CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA, THURSDAY 6THSEPTEMBER 2018
Honourable National Commissioners
Resident Electoral Commissioners
Senior officials of the Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Once again, it is my pleasure to welcome the Resident Electoral Commissioners to this meeting. You may recall that at our last meeting held about two (2) months ago and four days after the Ekiti State Governorship election on Wednesday 18thJuly 2018, I told you that as we approach the 2019 general elections, our meetings are going to become more regular. Today’s meeting is holding exactly sixteen (16) days to the Osun State Governorship election scheduled for Saturday 22ndSeptember 2018. Since the Ekiti State Governorship election, the Commission has conducted six (6) bye-elections, concluded five (5), but suspended the Port Harcourt III State Constituency in Rivers State. In addition to the interim report submitted to the Commission, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of the State will brief this meeting on that election. I wish to assure Nigerians that our elections will continue to meet the requirements of our laws, processes and procedures as well as international best practice. Today’s meeting shall dwell essentially and extensively on the conclusion of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise and the consequential steps we need to take as we continue to prepare for the 2019 general elections.
2. As you are aware, the Commission concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week. For a period of sixteen (16) months, from 27thApril 2017 to 31stAugust 2018, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as envisaged by the Electoral Act. At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832. Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the current figure represents about 21% increase on the existing register. On this note, let me also appeal to Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing nationwide display of the particulars of new voters for claims and objections as required by law. By doing so, citizens will be helping the Commission to further clean up the register and purge it of all ineligible registrants as required by Sec. 12 of the Electoral Act.
3. The Commission has consistently shared information on the voter registration exercise with Nigerians by publishing the figures as well as detailed breakdown by States and gender. After running the AFIS, the Commission shall present a detailed analysis of the voter register, not only by State and gender, but also by age group and occupation.
4. In addition to fresh registration, the Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law. This means that the Commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general elections. Already, the Commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection. I can also confirm that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the States next week. We wish to reassure Nigerians that every registered voter will have his/her PVC available for collection before the general election.
5. The collection of PVCs will continue until one week to the 2019 general elections. We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens. We will also ensure that information about the collection of PVCs is widely disseminated. Already, we are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs. Today’s meeting will also consider other options, including the devolution of collection to Ward level. We however wish to restate the Commission’s policy that no PVCs will be collected by proxy. Registered voters must endeavour to collect their cards personally. We are working hard to ensure that no PVC goes into the wrong hands.
6. On the preparation for the Osun State Governorship election, all processes and activities are going according to our timetable and schedule of activities released almost a year ago. The last major activity was the presentation of the Voters’ Register to each of the 48 political parties fielding candidates in the election, giving detailed information of the distribution of the 1.6 million registered voters by Local Government Areas, Wards and Polling Units. The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State will brief this meeting on the state of readiness so far. Furthermore, the Commission is convening a meeting of the national Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week to review the security arrangement for the election. We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices. We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials. We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. Furthermore, we are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitization. This is the third election we are conducting in Osun State since the 2015 general elections. The first was the Ife Central State Constituency and the Osun West Senatorial District. We wish to reassure the people of Osun State that their votes will continue to count.
7. Once again, I welcome all Resident Electoral Commissioners to this meeting. We now go into the working session.
6. I thank you for your attention.