Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that the about five million uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) will be quarantined from February 8; till the end of the presidential and governorship polls.
The electoral umpire was apparently reacting to the fears expressed by stakeholders in the electoral process that politicians are planning to acquire the uncollected PVCs to rig the elections.
While reacting to the allegations, particularly, credited to the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in his keynote address at the National Youth Summit for the 2019 general elections, in Abuja, yesterday, assured that the commission has set February 8 deadline for the collection of PVCs, adding that the uncollected cards will be quarantined until after the elections to avoid access to them.
The electoral umpire’s boss equally promised that INEC will make public the number of collected and uncollected PVCs before the elections for Nigerians to know exactly the number of those who would vote, out of the over 84 million total registered voters.
He commended INEC’s Youth Ambassadors and Nigerian youths, generally, for their role in sensitising Nigerians to get registered as voters, and charged them to mobilise the electorate who have collected their PVCs to vote in the 2019 elections.
“The next step after registration is to mobilise the youths to collect their PVCs. Without the PVCs, you simply cannot vote. We devolved the collection to ward level twice, and collection of PVCs will continue until Friday, February 8, essentially eight days to the general elections.
“I want to Nigerians that all uncollected PVCs will be quarantined until after the general elections. And we will make public the number of all collected PVCs nationwide, so that citizens will know the number of PVCs collected and the number uncollected, for the purpose of knowing exactly, out of the 84, 4084 registered voters, who will vote in 2019 general elections and who will not.
“I also appeal to our ambassadors to continue to appeal to our youths for peaceful elections in 2019. Conflict, violence, disruption are the exact antithesis of credible elections. Since the majority are young people, you should not allowed yourselves to be mobilised for wrong reasons. Don’t be mobilised for doing the wrong thing by people whose future is already determined,” he challenges.
Yakubu further noted that the forthcoming elections were for the youths as they constitute the highest number of registered voters while parties have fielded many youths as candidates following the enactment of the ‘Not too Young to Run’ Law and urged them to take the polls seriously.