Residents of Delta State have lamented the poor distribution of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as the deadline for collection draws near.
Our correspondent monitored the distribution of the PVCs in Warri South and Uvwie local government areas.
At 8:16 am, the INEC office in Warri South Local Government Area was still locked, with many sitting down under a canopy waiting to be attended to. No staff was seen, and the office was under lock and key.
An 80-year-old man, Engr. Felix Omogbolu, in a chat said, “I am here to collect my Permanent Voter Cards. When I got here, they said I should sit down and wait because people will resume work by 9 o’clock. That’s why I’m here sitting down and waiting.”
Engr. Omogbolu, who noted that the INEC had not resumed work by 8 am, expressed surprise that government workers resumed at 9 am.
He said he had been at the INEC office a number of times but he was not attended to. According to him, “they said that the card is not ready. That we should hold on. But we heard on the radio yesterday and this morning that everything is ready and getting here now, they said the people will resume work by 9.”
Engr. Omogbolu opined that INEC is not adequately distributing/issuing the PVC well to the satisfaction of Nigerians, stressing that the time for the deadline is fast running.
Also at the INEC office in Warri, Mr Lucky Memuduaghan, who was at the office for the collection of his PVC, in a chat with our correspondent said the process is not encouraging.
He said, “As of this time, the staff are not here. People are just here queuing.”
Memuduaghan said he had visited the INEC office to collect his PVC, but the responses he got are always the same.
“They (INEC) just go about painting pictures that people don’t come to collect their Permanent Voter Cards whereas, they don’t make themselves readily available to come and go through the process for people to collect their cards unhindered,” he said.
He equally called on INEC authority to improve their services, alleging that the INEC staff may be deliberately trying to prevent Nigerians from collecting their PVCs.
“At the end of the day, they will go to the media and say people don’t come to collect their cards,” he said.
At the INEC office at Uvwie Local Government Area, staff were seen attending to people.
A 78-year-old man, Mr. Peter Itoro, commended the INEC staff for attending to them, saying they gave him preference to come inside as an elderly person to be attended to.
INEC Desk Officer for PVC Collection in Uvwie Local Government Area, Nwabuzor Dumbiri, told this medium that they resumed early in their office to attend to all eligible voters.
“This is the way we are doing it. As you can see, some people came very early and wrote their names down. So, the first thing we are doing, we allow those that came very early to come in first with the name they wrote by themselves.
“Then, if we see somebody heavily pregnant, one who is carrying a little baby, breastfeeding mothers, aged man or woman, persons with disabilities, we give them preference. Like the man sitted here now. Then, by the time we finish calling some of the names that was written early, we will open the gate, allow everyone in to stay according to their wards,” he said.
He explained that the people who have been allowed in will have to stand according to their ward, stressing that the stipulated time for the PVC Collection is from 9 am – 3 pm.
According to him, “from tomorrow 6th -15th, we will be going to ward for distribution of PVCs. No more coming to INEC office to collect their PVC till on the 22nd January 2023 when everything about PVC collection will close. Depending on if INEC may want to extend the closing date for PVC collection.”