The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it had 7.8 million uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) from the 2015 general elections.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made this known at a meeting with Civil Society Organisations Situation Room in Abuja.
He said that out of the uncollected PVCs, Lagos had the highest of 1.4 million, followed by Oyo with 700,000 and Edo, 540,000.
Yakubu said, “in terms of the least collection by percentage, Ogun has the least while Bauchi and Zamfara have the highest rate in collection by percentage and number.
“There are some we have not printed from the last general elections; so, we are meeting some stakeholders next week in this regard to settle it.
“The commission is still reiterating its advice on collection of PVCs by proxy; it is not allowed.
“So we are working out ways to ensure that people collect their PVCs before the next elections and those who are of age now can also come for their registration from April.’’
He added that some people had suggested to the commission to collaborate with the National Lottery Commission to attach an incentive to the collection of the PVCs.
Yakubu, however, disclosed that after the 2015 general elections, the commission had distributed one million cards and was looking at better ways to make the distribution more effective.
He said that during the nationwide registration slated for April, people who wished to transfer their voting points to other states or places could do so.
He, however, said that the commission would conduct a continuous voter registration in Anambra to enable new voters to participate in the November governorship poll in the state.
The chairman said that 2019 would be a challenging year for the commission because there would be many elections, ranging from presidential to governorship, which would involve 29 seats.
He added that there would be 109 senatorial constituencies’ elections, 360 federal consistencies and 991 state assembly polls.
Yakubu said that INEC would also conduct the FCT Area Council elections for 68 positions and end the year with the Kogi and Bayelsa elections involving 1, 560 constituencies.
He, therefore, explained that fixing of the election dates ahead was to help the commission to plan and to also give the nation a sense of certainty in elections dates.
“With elections, we can’t continue to be masters of the last minute rush as a nation; therefore, there should be certainty in the way we approach elections, and why should elections dates actually be secret?
“People need to know because it allows us to plan; it is consistent with the Constitution and the Electoral Act.
“It is consistent with what we should do based on commonsense at the enormous requirement for planning for elections.
“It is also the international best practice. After all, we spent national resources to visit other countries to learn from them so we know that America holds her elections every first Tuesdays of November in election year,’’ he said.
Convener of the meeting, Mr Clement Nwankwo, commended INEC for the early release of the 2019 elections dates, adding that it would make for proper planning.
Nwankwo said that the step would help to breed a “no excuse political atmosphere’’ for free and transparent election in the country.
He said that the role of the CSOs was to ensure that policies were carried out correctly in accordance with what was applicable and best practice.
He said the meeting was organised to give people to opportunity to know the progress INEC had made so far and its preparations towards the 2019 elections. (NAN)