Prof. Francis Ezeonu, the Imo Resident Electoral Commissioner, says it is regrettable that 500,525 unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, of Imo residents are still in his custody.
He said that out of over 380,000 cards of 2011 and 2014 registration exercise released in April 2017, about 343,742 cards were yet to be claimed.
He also said that of the 72,237 cards recieved in respect of all those who registered in 2017, about 49,252 were yet to be collected.
Ezeonu made this known in Owerri on Wednesday at the flag-off of a road show by the commission in the state and a media briefing to announce the display of voters register.
“Recently, we recieved 110,627 PVCs for people who registered in the first quarter of 2018, only a paltry 3,096 have so far been collected in the last three weeks, leaving us a balance of 107,531 uncollected.
“All together, a total of 500,525 PVCs are yet to be collected in Imo State as at Oct.29. This is worrisome as no person will be allowed to vote with a temporary voter’s card,” he said.
The Imo REC advised all registered voters, who have not collected their PVCs, to take advantage of INEC deployment to Residential Areas (RAs), to go to where they registered with their Temporary Voter Cards (TVCs) to collect their PVCs.
“The commission will ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to the citizens of the state.
“We, however, wish to remind all of the commission’s policy is that no PVC will be collected by proxy.
“We have been informed that the PVCs for the last batch of registrants will be released before the end of the year,” he said.
Ezeonu said that INEC had been following activities heralding the 2019 general elections which included the conduct of primaries by political parties, submission of lists of candidates for presidential and national assembly elections and publication of particulars of candidates.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deadline for submission of the list of candidates for gubernatorial and state assembly elections by political parties is Nov.2 as directed by the commission.
He said that in accordance with Sections 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act 2010 (Amended), the commission had approved the display of national register of voters at all polling units between Nov. 6 and Nov. 12.
The REC said the display was to address the removal of ineligible voters which included deceased registered voters, non-Nigerians, registrants with still pictures, under-aged voters and multiple registrations.
He said that submission of claims and objections as well as collection of PVCs at RAs would start by 9.00 a.m to 4.00 p.m each day and would last for only seven days (weekends inclusive), adding that hearing of claims and objections would be at the RA within the same period.
According to him, PVCs for all those who registered in 2011, 2014, 2017 and first quarter of 2018 (January-March) are available for collection.
He enjoined the media to assist the commission in bringing the programmes of the commission to the front burner of public space and help popularise the national voters register to sensitise the citizens on the need to collect their PVCs.
Ezeonu said the Imo INEC was embarking on a roadshow as part of the voter education and sensitisation campaign to alert citizens about the forthcoming display of PVCs at RAs for easy access and collection.
“The 2019 Election Project Plan is on course.
“The cardinal objective of the 2019 election project plan is to conduct credible and peaceful election with an acceptable outcome that will inspire the confidence of Nigerians and all stakeholders.
“INEC is committed to free, fair and credible election,” he said.