Northerners have better attitude towards collection of PVCs than other Nigerians –INEC Commissioner, Soyebi

By Taiwo Ojoye

In this interview with ENIOLA AKINKUOTU, the National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Prince Solomon Soyebi, speaks about the Ekiti governorship election and preparations for the 2019 general elections.

The 2019 election is about seven months away but there’s still a large number of people complaining about their inability to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards. Don’t you see this as a minus for INEC?

Specifically, the general elections will begin on February 16, 2019. The issue of PVC collection is worrisome but we have to look at it holistically. Number one, most people don’t even know if they are qualified to collect these cards or not. We did make an announcement that these cards being distributed now are cards for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018 but people who had their registration in the second quarter of 2018 were mixed up with the people looking for their voter cards so there lies the genesis of the confusion. People don’t know whether they are qualified or not. Secondly, I must admit that we were not able to disaggregate these voter cards into various polling units, so the method of sorting too is cumbersome. That is why it is taking a longer time. Thirdly, people are not patient. Nigerians must learn to be patient. Someone comes into a centre and wants to collect his card in five minutes at the expense of people who have been there for 40 minutes. So, this creates some sort of artificial chaos and this adds to the inability of the people to get their cards. But as time goes on, we intend to take the distribution of the cards to the wards. If you look very critically, you will see that we have taken these cards to the wards in Ekiti State which is complimented by all registered voters. All registered voters from 2011 till date have their cards in Ekiti State already. It is the same thing in Osun State where collection is taking place at the ward level.

There are also complaints that in cosmopolitan states like Lagos, PVC collection is low because INEC only distributes PVCs between 9am and 3pm on weekdays when people are at work and there is no collection of cards on weekends when people are free. Why can’t INEC change its strategy?

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