By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja

In an effort to speed up the public response to the collection of the permanent voters cards (PVCs) by registered voters in kogi state, north central Nigeria, kogi state office of the Independent national electoral commission (INEC) has extended the period for the collection of the permanent voters cards from December 12th to January 22nd.

This follows the low rate of PVCs collection in the state despite INEC’s persistent calls on the citizens to come forward for the PVCs, few months to the general elections.

About 250,000 permanent voters cards (PVCs) have been issued to voters in the local government offices of INEC in kogi state still waiting to be collected by the registrants who are yet to turn up for their PVCs.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC) in Kogi State, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet indicated that the Commission is worried by the poor rate of PVC collection in the state as about 160,966 uncollected Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCS) are still with the state INEC.

Dr Longpet told a meeting of Media and civil society stakeholders in Lokoja on Thursday that Kogi State, which has about 1.9million registered voters, has not improved significantly in PVC registration and rate of collection ratios based on INEC’S data on the voters cards distribution and collection figure.

He said as at 2nd of December 2022, out of 154,984 voters cards which were produced for voters who registered in 2019, only 13,689 were collected while 141, 295 have not collected their 2019 voters card.

For the fresh registration between 2021 and June 2022, Longpet said the commission expected 38,505 people to come and collect their permanent voters card, but unfortunately, 18,924 voters have collected their PVCs while 19,671 is yet to be uncollected.

The REC said “I have always used every opportunity to express my displeasure over the poor collection of PVCs in Kogi State. We have 32,508 people who transferred their PVC’s from one polling unit to another. But so far, we have seen only 5,977 who have come to collect those transferred PVCs. And You will agree with me that it is not an encouraging figure.”

The Resident Electoral Commissioner implored the media and CSOs in the state to take the message of INEC to the public on the need for improved turnout for collection of the PVCs in all nooks and crannies.

“We have started sensitizing people, engaging Civil Society Organization, Media to start helping people to come and collect their PVCs,” he added.

Dr Longpet said, “while we hope for improvement in the rate PVCs collection in the state, we beg the good people of Kogi state who have not yet collected, to please come out in large number to collect their PVCs without further delay within the period of extension in our collective interest for participatory democracy, free and credible elections which is dependent on use of our PVCs.”

He assured Nigerians that the Commission is prepared to deliver transparent, free and fair elections devoid of electoral manipulation as the introduction of BVAS by INEC aimed at putting an end to electoral malpractice.

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