Ahead of the February elections, the Labour Party has raised the alarm alleging some irregularities by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, while distributing the Permanent Voters Card, PVC.
In a statement issued by the Chief Spokesperson of the Obi/Datti campaign council, Dr Yunusa Tanko, the party expressed fear that with the current situation across all the PVC collection centres in the country, several Nigerians may be disenfranchised in the coming elections.
According to the spokesperson, the reports the campaign council is receiving nationwide about the ineptitude of INEC staff “is disheartening and frustrating most PVC collectors”.
“We have received reports from all the geo-political zones in Nigeria and the messages are all the same, people complaining of the snail pace at which the PVCs are being dispatched to collectors,” he said.
According to the election timetable which is in accordance with Section 28(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022, the Presidential and National Assembly elections have been scheduled to hold on February 25, while the governorship and state assemblies election will be held on March 22.
Looking at the closeness of the election, the party lamented that many Nigerians who registered for the PVCs “are still finding it difficult to collect their voter’s cards.”
“If you take a close look at the INEC timetable, you have less than 12 days left for collection of PVCs. People go and queue for hours out of about 500 PVC collectors; only 20 or less than 50 people will be given their cards in wards designated for collection.
“What kind of miracle is INEC going to perform that will ensure Nigerians get their PVCs within this short period if there’s no sinister motive underneath?
“The process for collection started on December 12th and is expected to end on Sunday the 22nd of January yet out there across the country many of our members are complaining that the process is cumbersome and INEC staff leisurely stroll in and out of the wards.
“They resume by 9am and close by 3pm and from information reaching us the INEC staff in most cases resume as from 11am daily.
“Today is the 11th of January and by the 22nd of this month the process will collapse, what’s going to be the fate of those who couldn’t get their voter card?
“We have said in different fora that on no account should any Nigerian be denied his inalienable rights to cast their votes.
“INEC should open up on these deliberately designed weak operations to Nigerians before people start believing the apex electoral body has a hidden script unknown to us”.