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INEC insists no PVC, no Vote

Mahmood Yakubu1

No one would be permitted to cast a ballot in the general elections without a permanent voter card (PVC), according to Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who made this announcement on Thursday.

At a seminar with the title “2023 General Election: Judicial and Sustainability of Nigeria’s Democracy,” Mr. Yakubu made this statement. The conference was held by the National Association of Judiciary (NAJUC).

“There is a very unsettling trend, which is the misinformation and disinformation on technological deployments by the commission in the social media space, and some media outlets are using social media news updates to discuss on their morning shows and political programs without asking the commission for its position on such issues.

“One of these is the recently popular belief that a PVC is not necessary to cast a ballot on election day. Let me restate the commission’s position that Electoral Act 2022 Section 47 (1) clearly specifies that;

“A voter who plans to cast a ballot in an election must submit his voter’s card to a presiding officer at the polling place in the constituency where his name is recorded in order to be authorized. Consequently, the commission is required by law to only accept a voter’s accreditation upon presentation of a legitimate voter’s card.

“I implore media organizations and journalists to constantly get in touch with the commission to prevent disseminating rumors and false information gleaned from popular social media posts.”

The head of the electoral body stated that the commission, on its part, maintained a robust social media presence and would keep trying to inform Nigerians and dispel this kind of false information.

Lawrence Bayode, Director of ICT in the commission, attended the occasion on his behalf.

The INEC chair continued by stating that there was no provision in the Electoral Act 2022 that allowed the commission to register voters to vote using the numbers on their Voter Identification Number (VIN).

The Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) is secure, and the commission has been fending off hacking attempts, he further reassured Nigerians.

According to him, the BVAS technology would be used to carry out a credible, impartial, and trouble-free general election.

“Adopting innovations into the election process always comes with obstacles, just like with every other part of our national existence.

“The absence of a clear-cut legislative framework supporting the commission’s use of technology, particularly in the accreditation of voters and the voting process, posed a significant problem.

“The deployment of the Smart Card Readers in 2015 and its use was faced with various challenges, such as resistance to use in some isolated instances, theft and destruction of devices, attempts to manipulate the use of the devices, and most prominently, various judicial pronouncements on the legality of its use,” the report states.

In a paper presentation on “The Role of the Media in Election Reportage,” Elizabeth Olorunfemi, Assistant Research Fellow, National Judicial Institute (NJI), who also spoke, emphasized the necessity for the media to double-check facts with the electoral umpire before publishing.

In order to ensure that the nation’s democracy was maintained, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, stated that the court and the media were partners in progress and had to cooperate.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, who was representing Mr. Baba-Yusuf, said that the judiciary was always prepared to carry out its constitutional responsibility.

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