By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Ahead of the August 18th deadline fixed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) for the suspension of the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration exercise nationwide, the commission in Niger State has said it’s main concern was the unclaimed PVCs.
The commission is equally worried about the refusal by some citizens of eligible age to come and be registered for the permanent voters cards.
The commission said it has 6,673 PVCs unclaimed by citizens who sought for transfers, having relocated to new areas from where they had previously registered for their voters cards.
Resident Electoral Commissioner for Niger state, (REC) Professor Sam Ewgu said the commission was inundated with varied issues. He however solicited for stakeholders’ support in the on-going Continuous Voters Registration, (CVR) saying it is the surest way to guarantee successful citizens’ participation in the 2019 general election.
The commission also expressed worry that most of the 6,673 eligible voters who applied for transfer of their Permanent Voters Card, (PVC) in Niger state, were yet to come forward to collect their voters’ cards despite public awareness, campaign and publicity by the commission on the subject matter.
Professor Egwu who briefed newsmen on the challenges in trying to meet the August 18th deadline for the suspension of the CVR as directed by INEC headquarters, Abuja, lamented it had not been easy getting it right with citizens’ apathy and lukewarm attitudes.
“INEC has received 6,673 request for transfer cases arising from the CVR exercise for 2017. However only 61 percent of owners, representing 1%, have come forward to collect their PVCs” he explained while giving details statistics on the situation.
Prof. Egwu also told journalists that meeting the CVR exercise deadline has been very challenging. “Frequently, we get reports about our computers breaking down in the fields occasioned by frequent power outages cases. This is not peculiar to Niger state alone but a national issue. We try our best to solve the problems by encouraging our staff to use the bigger power generating sets when there is power failure to protect their computer batteries”.
He noted that most of the challenges which hindered the easy capturing of eligible voters ahead of next year’s general election were not peculiar to one state even as he solicited for sacrifices by all citizens towards ensuring that the commission actualize it’s set objectives.
“Successful capturing of all eligible voters can only be guaranteed with the support of Nigerians. We all must be willing to make sacrifices no matter how little, to ensure that the exercise is accomplished.
Prof. Ewgu disclosed that so far, the commission has registered 93,0208 eligible voters during the CVR exercise between April and December, 2017.
He said already, INEC has printed 82,896 PVCs which were currently being on distribution made to the owners,
He further explained that from January, 2018 when INEC resumed the CVR till date a total of 198,038 eligible persons have been registered for their permanent voters cards. This fit he described as remarkable when compared to the number of eligible voters that were registered in the 2017.