The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ebonyi State says over 215, 000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are yet to be claimed in the state.
Professor Godswill Obioma, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ebonyi State said this at a news conference in Abakaliki on Friday.
“The figure is composite addition to the uncollected PVCs from the 2015, 2017 as well as first and second quarters of 2018 registrations in the state,’’ he said.
He also said that the commission, on December, received additional 97,228 non fresh PVCs representing those PVCs from transfers, mutilations and losses.
Obioma said that out of the 47, 117 uncollected PVCs from the 2015 registration, 15, 204 PVCs had been claimed by their owners, leaving the commission with 31,913 unclaimed PVCs as at Dec. 13.
He also said that out of over 77,397 PVCs from 2017 registrations, about 29,973PVCs were yet to be claimed while 47,424 PVCs had been collected.
The REC also said that 153,125 PVCs were yet to be collected from first and second quarters of 2018 registrations.
He said: “In first quarter of 2018, uncollected PVCs as at Dec. 13 stands at 27,491 PVCs while in the second quarter which ended Aug. 31, out of 138,456 registration only 12, 822 PVCs have been collected.
“We have taken proactive steps in ensuring that all uncollected PVCs in our custody are claimed by their owners before the 2019 general elections.
“Collection is going on very aggressively.
“Collection started first at the ward and local government levels, but due to the yearnings of the people we are almost short of going from one polling unit to the other for the exercise.
“Two weeks ago, we redesigned our strategy and aggressively set up collection points in the remote areas near the polling units.
According to the REC, in a typical ward where there are about 10 to 15 polling units, the commission set up a minimum of three collection points.
He said a collection point would serve about four or five polling units according to how proximate the polling units are to the collection points.
“We may end up taking the exercise to polling units if we have more resources from our national headquarters to provide logistics.“
According to Rec, the commission will ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to the citizens of the state.
He, however, reminded the electorate of the commission’s policy which stipulates that “no PVC will be collected by proxy.”
Obioma said that INEC had developed a number of strategies, including security, transport; media strategy plans and training for the INEC staff to ensure free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
“Recently, political parties and their candidates for both national and state elections signed a peace accord to abide by the electoral laws and make elections in Ebonyi violence free to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of 2019 general elections.
“We hope and pray to God that the exercise will not only be symbolic but that parties will abide by the provisions of the peace accord.
“INEC under our watch in Ebonyi will ensure that all votes must count in the elections and candidates and their political parties will be provided with equal level playing field in the elections.’’