INEC has called for effective collaboration with different stakeholders in Ebonyi to accelerate the collection of permanent voter cards (PVCs) by their owners ahead of the 2023 polls.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Mrs Pauline Onyeka, made the call during an expanded stakeholders’ interactive meeting in Abakaliki on Tuesday.
Onyeka said that the commission was poised to ensure that all registered voters in the state collected their cards within the stipulated time.
She said that the interaction was meant to enable the commission to update the people on the PVC collection.
She further said that the commission intended to use the meeting to seek the stakeholders’ support and cooperation to ensure a seamless exercise in the state.
“This is in line with the commission’s policy of carrying the stakeholders along in its activities as this is a collective venture and shared responsibility.
“I am particularly happy that despite your tight schedules in this festive period, you were able to spare some time to honour our invitation.
“It is on record that my predecessor had held meetings with the leadership of the political parties, traditional rulers, media and members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
“At those meetings, the commission updated the stakeholders with the commission’s timetable.
“I have equally had a meeting with the members of ICCES during which I expressed concern about the burning down of INEC offices in the state, in particular and South-East as a whole by hoodlums.
“I had requested that security be beefed up in all the offices and the centres for the collection of PVCs.
“Security agencies have assured us of adequate protection of INEC offices and staff members,” Onyeka said.
The REC said that the exercise, which started on Dec. 12 in all INEC Local Government Area (LGA) offices, will last until Jan. 5, 2023.
“Thereafter, the collection will be moved to the Registration Areas from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15 and then revert to the LGA offices, where it will last until Jan. 22.”
“The exercise will commence at 9.00 am each day, including Saturdays and Sundays in all the 171 wards, and end at 3:00 pm.
Onyeka appealed to the chairmen of the 13 LGAs to ensure adequate security for the INEC staff members and commission’s offices in their various councils.
She said that the PVCs being distributed were for those who did fresh registration, transferred, made corrections or applied for replacement of defaced, lost or damaged ones.
She further said that the leftover PVCs from the previous voter registration would also be distributed.
“There will be no voting in the 2023 elections without the PVCs, and no collection of PVCs by proxy.
“This is why we have invited you to this meeting for us to exchange ideas on how to encourage those who are yet to collect their PVCs to use this window period to obtain theirs.
“As leaders closer to the people at the grassroots, we implore you to sensitise and enlighten your subjects and members on the need for them to collect their PVCs and safeguard them tenaciously,” the REC said.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi, Mr Aliyu Garba, has promised adequate security before, during and after the election.
He urged the public to report any security breaches within their localities.
Garba, represented by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Dennis Anyia, implored the stakeholders to assist the police in securing INEC facilities domiciled in their areas.
Contributing, Eze Charles Mkpuma, a member of the state Council of Traditional Rulers, pledged the support and cooperation of the royal fathers in mobilising the people to collect their PVCs.
He, however, called for adequate security to ensure the protection of people’s lives and property during the exercise and election period.
The meeting was attended by traditional rulers, security chiefs, leaders of political parties, community leaders and persons living with disabilities, amongst others. (NAN)