The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says more than 90,000 Permanent Voter Cards are yet to be collected across the eighteen local government areas of Cross River State in south-south Nigeria.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River, Dr. Johnson Alalibo gave the hint during a courtesy visit on the governor, Professor Ben Ayade in Calabar, the state capital.
Dr. Alalibo, who appreciated the governor for the reception, decried the slow response of the people for the collection of PVCs, noting “since after the recent voter registration exercise commenced, we have been urging the public especially those, who registered to come and collect their PVCs. We have over 90 thousand uncollected cards in Cross River State.
“These numbers are not in Calabar alone, but across 18 local government areas in the state. We have our local government offices opened every day to distribute these PVCs to the people and very soon, we will receive another batch, which we are appealing to the people to come and collect,” he said.
Peace and security
The Resident Electoral Commissioner also harped on the need for strengthened security and peace in the state ahead of the 2023 general election to enable the commission conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent exercise.
“There is no way we can conduct a free and fair election without security. We call on you to use your good office to ensure that we have peace in the state. Peace in the sense that people can move freely to vote for candidates of their choice and also we at the back end of INEC can do our job without intimidation,” Alalibo stated.
He further disclosed that Cross River State now has 3281 polling units from the previous 2,283 in the commission’s effort to enhance easy access of voters to polling units on election days.
Responding, the governor, Professor Ben Ayade assured INEC of peaceful and secured atmosphere across the state before, during and after the 2023 elections.
Governor Ayade, who welcomed the new REC on behalf of the people of Cross River, in the same vein, tasked the commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
Ayade said, “I give you that commitment that we will guarantee you free and safe elections. We also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to please honour its pledge too so that we can have free, fair, credible, reliable and dependable elections.
“Government is not going to in any way influence your process, but we want to say that we are available and willing to support you at all times that INEC will so require our services,” he emphasised.
Governor Ayade commended the commission’s chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu for conducting recent elections across the country embedded in transparency, fairness and credibility to the acceptance and admiration of the ruling and opposition parties.
The governor stated, “never before have we had an INEC chairman, who has enjoyed the mutual trust from both the ruling party and opposition parties. This is one chairman, who has conducted his elections and results returned based on what is on ground.
“He is not subject to any inducement. He is subject to God that he serves and I want to say that his name would go down in history as one of the best INEC chairman that we have ever had,” he added.