The narrative has been the same across the two Local Government Areas (Jere and MMC) situated within Maiduguri town, I am most worried that the deadline is in a matter of hours and people are still being told that their PVCs are not ready.
It is saddening that all over the country we hear only news of how people are not turning up for (Permanent Voters’ Card) PVC collection and I keep wondering who the owners of those thousands of alleged uncollected PVCs are? Are they dead or alive? And why is it that no one is talking about the thousands who have been going to the INEC offices for collection of their PVCs registered under the most difficult situations and inconvenience. Why does INEC speak from two sides of their mouth? They come to the public space and media to claim that all PVCs are ready for collection and lament how Nigerians are not coming out, meanwhile people queue up at their offices and ward levels to get PVCs only to be told “your PVC is not ready, come back in 3 days, come back in one week” and stories like that.
INEC has succeeded in using impracticable deadline extensions to win the commendations of many who do not know what is going on. One needs to answers this question and the questions of many other Nigerians who have registered, transferred of requested for replacement of lost/damaged cards particularly last year (2022) between May and July. A quick tour around Borno state where I live has shown that only about a paltry 30 to 40% of those who registered during the stated period have gotten their PVCs. The final deadline according to INEC is already here and people are being asked to go and come back.
The Resident Electoral commissioner in Lagos had told Channels TV that everyone has gotten their PVCs except those who did double registration but this is definitely one of those beautiful lies sold to the public who might not know that there are people who did something as simple as update, transfer of polling unit or request for lost card that are yet to collect their PVCs and these run into thousands, thousands of Nigerians who are willing and have been going to INEC offices and their cards cannot be found and such stories are not given opportunity to sale or heard for answers to be provided as to why such PVCs cannot be found.
I was a part of this exercise and I do not make mere claims, between April and July, I observed how crowded INEC offices became as a result of the surge in the number of persons who got interested in the electioneering process and wish to stand to be counted. I noticed that people were going to INEC office for something as simple as request for lost or damaged card and I took it upon myself to start a sensitization and many realised they could do that from the comfort of their homes. I was also going round from market to market, different living areas including barracks among others to assist those who cannot do such by themselves, this I did from June till the process ended in July. I still have the record of close to a thousand people for whom I helped complete the processes or either requesting for new card, update or transfer of polling units. I still followed up after the window for the collection was declared open by INEC and sadly not more than 50 out of about 764 persons have been able to collect.
The narrative has been the same across the two Local Government Areas (Jere and MMC) situated within Maiduguri town, I am most worried that the deadline is in a matter of hours and people are still being told that their PVCs are not ready. If it eventually ends, the fault becomes ours because INEC will claim that ample time was given but people did not show up. This is not true, many have spent hours, days, weeks and even months at INEC offices but still cannot have their PVCs.
INEC where is our PVC?