Despite INEC’s pledges, Nigerians struggle to obtain PVCs
The process of registering for Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is proving difficult for many Nigerians.
This is despite a statement from the Lagos State headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) assuring the public that enough security and machinery had been put in place to capture all eligible voters.
Getting a PVC has become an arduous struggle, according to some prospective voters who talked to The ICIR today at the Ojo INEC office in Igbede, Lagos.
Many of them said that they arrived early at the INEC headquarters only to be ignored and forced to leave in disgust.
Many of them were told to collect paperwork from the office and manually fill them out after they failed to register online when the portal was opened for registration.
The INEC has stated that the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process will terminate on June 30, 2022, despite the fact that the deadline for online registration for new PVCs was originally extended from May 31, 2022 to June 30, 2022.
The process of obtaining the form at Igbede was tough, and only those who arrived early enough were served.
“I have been attempting to receive the form but they stated it had been exhausted,” Matthew Madu said of the procedure, which he described as “extremely aggravating.” I’m curious as to why the form is exhausted, given that there is a printing machine on the premises.
“I heard they handed out 15 registration forms, but not all of them had been filled out.” It’s been aggravating. The procedures for new voters are ineffective.”
Similarly, Goodnews Ukoh informed The reporters that he went unnoticed since he arrived at 10 a.m., which officials said was too late.
Goodnews said, “I have been here since 10am and have not been attended to. There has also been disorderliness even here on the queue. People that filled the form were just 14. Nobody has gotten the form since then. Some said they came around 5am to 6am just to get the form to register to get their PVC.”
Many other residents were angry about the process since they were kept out of the compound and forced to sit outside the INEC office, feeling abandoned and dissatisfied.
Others who were there to get their biometrics taken felt the strain as well, as some of them informed The newsmen that INEC’s manpower was insufficient in comparison to the large crowds who came out to register.
A clergyman who did not want to be identified told The newsmen that more registration centers and recruits were needed to help with the PVC registration process.
He stated he traveled all the way from Igando to Igbede to complete the biometrics portion of his registration. He did, however, mention that he was compelled to go through the same process as someone who did not register online, which he thought was a waste of time.
The clergyman stated, “They should create more centres for registration. A lot of people cannot stay here for long. Men can but women can’t. My appointment for biometrics is 12.15pm. I was here before that time and now it is 3pm, we have not been attended to.
He complain, “I came all the way from Igando, but look at the stress and suffering.”
He requested that the registration procedure be extended despite the fact that it had already been closed online.
A video of some Igbede locals purportedly being disenfranchised went popular on social media yesterday. INEC personnel were seen in the video allegedly blocking certain Igbo citizens from registering.
One of the residents who also spoke about the situation indicated that some potential voters had to battle their way through the procedure.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Hundeyin, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, clarified the issue in a tweet.
The massive gathering, according to Hundeyin, was sparked by the Alaba International Market dealers’ decision to close the market on Thursday in order to register for their PVCs.
He stated that a phased closure would have been preferable, and that the violence increased as a result of a lack of appropriate staff.
He wrote, “Consequently, the Ojo Local Government venue of the registration, was besieged by a mammoth crowd. The situation was made worse by the fact that only one registration terminal was working.
“One of the people who came for registration made trouble and was challenged by those around. Going by simple probability, the attacker or the attacked is very likely to be Igbo. They were simply large in number.
“However, giving this incident ethnic coloration would not help matters. The entire episode lasted a few minutes. Sadly, recordings from those few minutes are still travelling far and wide.”
Normalcy had restored, he decided, and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the security situation was totally in charge.
The INEC headquarters in Lagos State assured all citizens in a statement today that enough security and apparatus had been put in place to capture all eligible voters, as corroborated by witnesses on the spot.
More registration equipment had been provided to speed the PVC process, according to a statement signed by the administrative secretary, James Oludele Popoola, on behalf of the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Lagos State.
“At this time, the Commission wishes to inform and assure all people that enough security and apparatus have been put in place to capture all eligible voters,” the statement added.
“To that purpose, the Commission has provided more registration (i.e. IVED) machines in the state, and these IVED machines, in addition to what they already have, will be distributed to the 20 Local Government Areas.” The deployment will begin on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022.
“In addition, the Commission will provide stakeholders and leaders of various interest groups with necessary information regarding the deployment of the devices around the state.”
The message urged eligible residents to be calm and visit one of the INEC registration centers near them.
The Commission also stated that it will continue to ensure that all Nigerians who seek to participate in the election process have a smooth and stress-free experience.