How INEC Officials Deliberately Deny Us PVC in Borno, ‘Obidiets’, Others Alleged

By Abdulkareem Haruna

A convergence of aggrieved citizens, including supporters of the Labour Party and other political groupings in Borno state, have on Sunday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of intentionally withholding their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in a grand plot to bar them from voting in the coming elections. 

This weighty allegation was coming on the last day the electoral body allowed for the issuance of PVC. 

INEC had extended the PVC collection date from January end to Feb.5, 2023, to allow those who are yet to retrieve their voting cards to do so. Despite the deadline elongation, many Nigerians who claimed to have duly registered as voters said they are yet to see their PVCs. 

Led by one Ishyaku Yakubu, a senior member of the Obidient movement and card-carrying member of the  Labour Party (LP), the group said thousands of registered voters have not been able to receive their PVCs after days of frequenting the collection centers. 

The group blamed INEC and its officials for the setback even as they claimed to have copious evidence to prove that some INEC officials have been paid to deny particular categories the right to vote. 

The group said the INEC officials were primed to deny them the chance to collect their  PVC until the exercise ended. 

The INEC has denied this allegation. 

But Engineer Yakubu,  who was accompanied by a large number of individuals who are yet to collect their PVC, said

“thousands (including myself) who have been going to the INEC offices for collecting their PVCs registered under the most difficult situations and inconvenience are yet to get it.”

“INEC has previously announced to the media that all PVCs are ready for collection and lament how Nigerians are not coming out; meanwhile, we 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. 

“We have reasons to believe there is a sinister plan to disenfranchise thousands of people as there appears to be no reason for holding up the PVCs. We and many others who registered, transferred, and r requested for replacement of lost/damaged cards, particularly last year (2022) between May and July, have not been given their PVCs. 

“Today is the final deadline, according to INEC, and people are being asked to go and come back,” he said. 

“We have it on record where an INEC staff in charge of issuing PVCs in one of the polling wards saying that those who registered during the last window of registration should forget about voting in 2023; that we should wait till 2027 because they know whom we are going to vote for,” said Yakubu. 

INEC Denies Allegations

The Borno REC had, in a phone interview with reporters, denied any alleged plot by INEC to bar registered voters from getting their PVC.

He said those unable to get their PVCs “are among those who engaged in multiple registrations detected and  automatically canceled, and so would not get their PVCs based on the Electoral Act 2022.”

“We are not printing the PVCs; the PVCs are being printed in Abuja; this is the reality.”

The REC, who had announced two weeks ago that there were over 161,000 PVC yet to be collected in Borno state, said on Sunday that he is yet to receive an update on the number left uncollected after the one-week extension. 

“I’m supposed to get the update on the number of uncollected PVCs by  6 pm today,” he said

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