Flooding won’t affect CVR, preparations for Edo Gov polls, says Prof. Yakubu
May 31, 2024
With Over 200,000 Uncollected PVCs, INEC Chairman Calls On Ondo Voters To Act
June 4, 2024

Mobilise Registered Voters For PVC Collection, INEC Chairman Implores Party Leaders

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (3rd left, front row), National Commissioners Prof Rhoda Gumus (5th right, front row), Barrister May Agbamuche-Mbu, Major General Abubakar Alkali (4th and 5th left, second row), other members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) and political party leaders, after their meeting held on Friday 31st May 2024 at the Commission's office, Benin-City. PHOTO: TAIWO MAKANJUOLA

  • Over 200,000 Uncollected PVCs Still in Edo State

WITH over 200,000 uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) still in the vaults of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s  (INEC) office in Edo State, the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has called on leaders of political parties to mobilise the legitimate owners of the cards to collect them.

He made the call on Friday 31st May in Benin city, at a meeting between the party leaders and members of the Edo State Chapter of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), held at the INEC State office.

According to Prof. Yakubu, who chairs ICCES at the national level, while it is commendable for party leaders to galvanise their supporters into taking advantage of the ongoing voter registration exercise, they should not forget the over 200,000 uncollected PVCs waiting to be picked up by their owners.

He said: “Beyond the CVR (Continuous Voter Registration) I want to appeal to political parties in Edo State. Just as you are mobilising your supporters to register, also mobilise them to collect their PVCs. We have over 200,000 uncollected PVCs in Edo state. These are for persons who have already registered. What is standing between them and voting is just to pick up their PVCs. Please mobilise them to go and pick up their PVCs. The real challenge is for people who have registered to go and collect their PVCs and vote.”  

At the same time, he told the party leaders to shun violence and play by the rules. He said the continuing evolvement of the country’s electoral process would make it pointless for any party or candidate to employ violence with the intention of gaining undue advantage.

He commended the parties for their peaceful conduct since the ban on campaigns was lifted on the 24th of April, but frowned at the reported incidence of shooting at some CVR centers in the state.

The INEC Chairman said: “I wouldn’t be tired of advising political parties to obey the rules of the game. Violence doesn’t pay anybody anywhere, and in this day and age, there is no way you can take advantage of the process through violence.

He averred that the Commission, under his leadership, had conducted two successive governorship elections in Edo state in 2016 and 2020, while the September version would be the third. He said: “I want to remind you that this Commission in particular has had a long-standing experience in handling governorship elections in Edo state. This is going to be our third governorship election in Edo state. I was here in 2016 ahead of the governorship election. I was here nearly four years ago in 2020 ahead of the last governorship election, and I’m here again ahead of the forthcoming governorship election. 

He observed that political parties and their candidates had shown commitment to the process through their peaceful conduct in the past, urging them to replicate their good behaviour during the September 21 governorship election. He also recalled that before the 2016 and 2020 elections, there was tension throughout the State. But in the end, the election was conducted peacefully on both occassions.

His words: “I must commend political parties. So far, the build-up to the 2024 governorship election in Edo state has been the most peaceful. I know what we went through in 2016 when the election had to be postponed, and I also know what happened in 2020. It was as if the world was coming to an end in Edo state. But you will also agree with me that in the aftermath of the governorship election, citizens of Nigeria in Edo state started dancing on the streets over the professional manner with which the election was conducted.”

Prof. Yakubu also underscored the Commission’s neutrality in the electoral process. “INEC has no candidate in this election,” he affirmed. “We are not a political party. The last two elections were actually won by two different political parties. The next election will actually be won by one of you sitting here. Only the people of Edo can determine who becomes their next governor and we will make sure that their choices are protected.”

In an appeal to the party leaders, he said:“We have done it before. Let’s continue to keep the peace and do things peacefully. I must tell you that I am encouraged by the current atmosphere. The ban on campaigns was lifted on the 24th of April;  we are now going into June and so far, so good. But let’s maintain the peace.”

Speaking on the pockets of violence recorded at some CVR centres and the steps taken so far, the INEC Chairman said, “we are not happy with the reports we got from Idiya College at Oredo Ward 4. We are also not happy with the complaints we received from Owan West. We have also received complaints made by one of the political parties about a security network. Yesterday, we had a closed-door security meeting in the office of the Commissioner of Police, and the Commissioner has assured us that he has spoken with the leadership of that security network, and will continue to speak to them.

“The responsibility for election security, just like internal security, rests with the Nigerian Police. They are the lead agency for internal security, but when need arises, they will call for support from other security agencies which is why they are all working in synergy. There is no difference between one security agency and another. We are all working together for a secure electoral environment in Edo state.”

On his part, the Commissioner of Police, Edo state, Mr. Funsho Adeboye, assured the parties of a level playing field, while debunking insinuations among parties that the security agencies were providing undue advantage to some parties.

He said, “We have an enabling and a level playing ground for all political parties to operate, and I’m speaking on behalf of all security agencies. Some of you said that we have been planted here. I don’t know by who, and for what. I want to say it again, nobody has planted anybody to do something or anything that is against the law.”

He appealed to the parties to make the job of the security agencies easy. He said: “Please play the game according to the rules. INEC which is the umpire has set the rules, which we all know. There is no need for police officers to be carrying guns on Election Day. I feel bad each time we do that, but we have to do it. I wish we could do without arms during the campaigns, during the election, and after the elections.

He added: “Please assist us. Nigeria is a great country. We can make it greater together. Please make it problem-free for us. We are ready to do our work conscientiously without any bias. I am speaking the mind of all security agencies.”.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Edo state, Dr Anugbum Onuoha, earlier in his welcome remarks, stated that the meeting was convened due to recent developments about security in the state.

His words: “This meeting was called because of the happenings, especially security matters. Some of our centres have been affected by the shooting, and some of our staff have been affected by these unfortunate incidents. It is important that we interact with the security agencies to see how we can provide a solution to this.”