By Angela Atabo
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says over 250, 000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have yet to be collected by registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Mrs Ndidi Okafor, Head, Voter Education and Publicity, Gender and Civil Society Liaison, INEC, FCT, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja that the rate of PVC collection in the area was low.
Okafor said that the uncollected PVCs were from the 2011, 2014, and 2016 voter registration by the commission in the territory.
She said, “we are appealing to Nigerians to please come and collect their PVCs; it is not just enough to come and register, you have to complete the process by collecting your card.
“We are doing a lot of partnerships with different organizations to create awareness on this; we go to churches and mosques to do advocacy and we even visit traditional rulers to help us talk to their subjects.
“However, the commission cannot do this alone; political parties have a strategic role to play, so we urge them to talk to their supporters to send down these messages to the grassroots.’’
Okafor appealed to Nigerians not to be discouraged by the long queue they met at voter registration centres, assuring that INEC was working out how to make the exercise hitch-free.
She urged Nigerians to be more patient with the process “because it is their right to register and vote’’.
“We need to be supportive of this process so that we can all register.
“The wisdom here is that no matter how long these queues are, they get cleared up early because not everyone there is for registration.
“Some people are just there to transfer their voter cards, while others are for corrections. So, ideally nobody is supposed to spend up to five minutes on the queue,’’ she explained.
Okafor said that the registration centres in the FCT had been increased from 22 to 32 and urged people to go and register.
She said that on April 27, 2017 when the exercise started, FCT had only six registration centres, but that due to stakeholders demanded, 16 new centres were added.
She added that 10 more centres were recently created, bringing the number to 32 for the six area councils in the territory.
Okafor said that INEC was also taking steps to increase the number of registration machines in the centres, especially in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), which had nine centres.
She said that 10 machines and the scanners had also been deployed at the centres.