With the upcoming presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that no one without a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) will be allowed to vote come February 25, 2022.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced this during the retreat held for the newly appointed Resident Electoral Commission (RECs). While addressing them, he noted that over the month, INEC facilities have been under attack in at least five local governments across the country.
He said, “Let me seize this opportunity and comment on two issues. First is the misleading statement shared online that voters can vote on election day without the voter’s card. This is absolutely incorrect. For any person to vote in any election organised by INEC, he or she must be a registered voter issued with a PVC.
The Commission has consistently maintained the policy of ‘no PVC, no voting. It is a legal requirement, and doing otherwise will violate the law.
On the case of the vandalisation of INEC properties, he said, “In the last four months, five local government area INEC offices were attacked by yet unknown persons. Buildings have been destroyed and materials lost in Udenu and Igboeze North Local Areas of Enugu State, Abeokuta South Local Government of Ogun State, Ede South Local Government Area of Osun State and Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
In these mindless attacks, 1,993 ballot boxes, 399 voting cubicles, 22 electric power generators and thousands of uncollected PVCs were destroyed, among other materials.”
As replacing the destroyed materials requires capital, INEC says it cannot continue replacing destroyed items. Hence it calls on securities agencies and traditional and community leaders to help apprehend attackers and stop materials’ destruction.
Working with the Nigerian police
To ensure the feasibility of no PVC no Voting mandate by INEC, the commission is working alongside the Nigerian Police headed by the Inspector General of Police (ISP) towards a peaceful election.
Due to the importance of the 2023 election, Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, promised to ensure that the electoral process in 2023 is peaceful. He, therefore, admonished politicians to dissuade touts from activities that might affect the election. If caught, he says they will be arrested and prosecuted.
He made this known at the 2022 political parties’ summit organised by the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC)) while represented by Dandaura Mustapha, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations.
He said, “On the issue of election violence, the campaign has started. We have been receiving a lot of complaints from political parties. It is unfortunate what is happening during this period. All the political parties are complaining.
It is not only APC or PDP or Labour Party or APGA. Unfortunately, as stated by the IG during a meeting with the political parties, some of our governors are not helping matters. They must lay a solid foundation and give other political parties access to campaign programmes. Some try to manipulate the campaign.”
Mustapha said, “Some even sponsor touts to pursue the opposition, remove their billboards and posters and destroy their offices. Based on this, the Inspector General of Police has categorically directed all the commissioners of police that on no account should any serving or sitting governor stop other political parties from conducting their campaigns in all the nook and cranny of the state.”
He thus assured political parties that they were free to go about their businesses. Mustapha said, “We are encouraging all the aspirants that once you are threatened, and you have no access to go round, meet the commissioner of police in charge of that state. They have been directed and warned to provide security for all the aspirants. No matter where they are going, they will attach security.”
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