Impressed by the increasing interest shown by registered voters to collect their Permanent Voter Cards PVCs, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has extended the deadline for the collection of the cards.
INEC has also vowed to punish any staff found to have extorted or discriminated against any registered voter in the issuance of the PVCs.
National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee at the commission, Barr. Festus Okoye disclosed this in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja.
He said the decision was a fallout of Thursday’s regular meeting wherein the Commission deliberated on a number of issues, including the ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide.
“The Commission is encouraged by the turnout of registered voters and the surge in the number of collected PVCs across the country. In some of the States, as many as 100,000 PVCs were collected in the last five days since the devolution to Ward level started on Saturday 6th January 2023.
“The Commission is determined to ensure that registered voters have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the forthcoming election. For this reason, the timeframe for collection of PVCs is extended by eight days. Instead of ending on Sunday 22nd January 2023, the collection of PVCs will continue until Sunday 29th January 2023. At the moment, the period of collection is 9.00am – 3.00pm daily (including Saturdays and Sundays).
“As a result of this extension, there is a consequential adjustment of the collection by location as follows:
“Collection at Registration Area (Ward) level is extended by one week from Monday 16th – Sunday 22nd January 2023.
“Collection at Local Government level will resume on Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th January 2023”, he stated.
Meanwhile, Okoye said the Commission is investigating allegations of extortion by officials at some of the collection centres and inducement by some unscrupulous voters to circumvent processes in order to obtain their PVCs.
“Those found culpable will be face disciplinary action and/or prosecution”, he declared.
Similarly, the Commission, he said, is disturbed by allegations of discriminatory issuance of PVCs in some locations.
“This is against the law. All bonafide registrants are entitled to their PVCs and to use them to vote on Election Day in any part of the country where they are registered.
“Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) have been directed to ensure that no such practices occur nationwide and take immediate disciplinary action against violators”, Okoye added.
He explained that INEC has printed over 13.86 million new PVCs, but advised field officials to immediately notify their respective RECs should it emerge that some cards could not be located.
“For the record, the Commission has printed 13,868,441 PVCs for all new valid registrants as well as applicants for transfer or replacement of cards.
“Nevertheless, issuing officers should compile any complaints about non-availability of cards and forward them to their immediate supervisors for the attention of Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) who shall compile and forward them for necessary action.
“The Commission once again appreciates the patience and perseverance of citizens as we continue to finetune our process to make the collection of PVCs easier”, he stated.
Elections: Cultists Masking As Party Support Groups In Rivers, Says Wike
The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, on Monday said some party support groups in the state are a vehicle for thuggery and cult activities sponsored by disgruntled politicians ahead of the forthcoming elections.
Wike’s remarks follow reports that about 30 members of the Atiku Support Organisation were arrested by armed policemen during a meeting in the state capital.
The governor, in a state broadcast, called on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the state, which he said are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
“We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores,” he said.
“Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.”
The governor also called attention to the presence of “desperate politicians” whom he said are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
“I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
“Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State,” Wike added.
See the full transcript below:
STATE BROADCAST BY
HIS EXCELLENCY NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS
ON THE RISING CULTISM AND RELATED
ACTIVITIES ACROSS RIVERS STATE
My dear people of Rivers State
The 2023 general elections are less than three weeks away. Political activities are in top gear, with political parties and candidates intensifying campaigns across the State.
2. We are happy with the generally peaceful campaigns except for the few isolated reported incidents of violence by sponsored rival cults, gangs and support groups in one or two political rallies.
3. We commend the security agencies for providing adequate security cover for all the political parties to carry on with their electioneering activities, including crowded rallies and meetings.
4. The State Government will continue to support the security agencies to sustain the prevailing atmosphere of peace and security for voters to exercise their voting rights without fear or intimidation before, during and after the elections.
5. I assure you that there is nothing to fear as the State government and the security agencies will spare no effort to keep Rivers State peaceful, safe and secure for citizens to go about their normal daily activities.
6. However, we, again, call on leaders of political parties to obey the laws regulating election campaigns in the State, which are made to instil sanity and safeguard the public interest.
7. We also denounce the rising cases of cultism in the State during this electioneering period, which are sponsored by politicians to settle political scores.
READ ALSO: Atiku: Rivers PDP Takes Swipe On Wike
8. Apart from committing heinous crimes, cultists masking as party support groups and thugs are used by rival party leaders to assault opponents and disrupt party meetings, especially in those political parties with protracted internal crises arising from their flawed primaries.
9. We are also aware that desperate politicians are recruiting and arming cultists and other miscreants to be used to attack and intimidate voters during the polls.
10. I wish to warn that no responsible government will close its eyes to the threat posed by these cultists, fanatical party support groups, and their sponsors to free and fair elections in the State.
11. Consequently, I have directed the security agencies to raid any suspected area or premises and clamp down on cultists, militant support groups and other miscreants being used by politicians to disturb the peace, safety and security of the State.
12. Anyone with useful information about the camps, gatherings, plans and activities of these criminal elements and their sponsors should forward it to the security agencies for action.
13. I wish to restate that no amount of syndicated misinformation, campaigns of calumny, and diatribes by a section of the media and the political elites will deter the State Government from enforcing the laws of the State against those who vainly claim to be above them.
14. Unlike other States, we have refrained from using the State’s Neighbourhood Corps to enforce law and order by allowing the regular security agencies to do their constitutional work.
15. We pray we may not be forced to reconsider this position if the security agencies continue to encourage and offer protection to some politicians and party leaders to wantonly breach our laws.
16. Thank you, and may God bless Rivers State.
Tinubu’s Men Attack PDP Over N22.5bn Vote-buying Claim
The ruling All Progressives Congress has challenged the Peoples Democratic Party to provide Nigerians with evidence of the N22.5 billion stashed old notes that it alleged the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is desperately seeking to convert into new ones in Kano State.
This is even as the Tinubu-Shettima presidential campaign council wrote off the claim as a silly figment of the imagination of the opposition party.
The PDP had claimed in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday that it received intelligence that Tinubu and some party leaders are striving to swap the alleged money to facilitate its vote-buying plans ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, further disclosed that the PDP was convinced about the earlier notion that the APC in conjunction with some APC governors is responsible for the biting cash scarcity currently rocking the country.
Ologunagba said, “The party is aware that the N22.5 billion in old N1000 notes was allegedly kept in a Kano State Government facility before being moved to a particular old generation and a certain new generation bank where the regional heads were contacted by the APC presidential campaign to swap the old notes with new ones.
“Further information revealed that the cash is being warehoused by the Tinubu campaign for alleged vote buying in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa, and Sokoto States. A particular APC state governor is reported to have taken delivery of N500 million new Naira notes to actualize the vote buying plot.”
When contacted, the Chief Spokesman of the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, stated that it would be a waste of time to reply to the allegation.
“I have only one sentence for that. It is an irresponsible statement that does not deserve a response,” he said.
The PCC Director of Media and Communication, Bayo Onanuga, debunked the report, saying the PDP is living up to its fame of coming up with frivolous claims.
He challenged the leadership of the opposition party to cut to the chase by providing concrete evidence to back up its claim.
He stated, “Let them provide the evidence if they uncovered such. It is not enough to dish out cock and bull stories in the name of press Releases. Making senseless allegations every passing day which has become the hallmark of the PDP campaign is not how to win the election.
“Nigerians can’t forget a party of people that looted over $ 2 billion dollars meant for arms procurement when Boko Haram was killing our citizens and almost took over three states in the northeast.
“We challenge PDP to bring out any evidence of their latest allegation otherwise the party of looters should hide its ugly face in perpetual shame.”
Meanwhile, the Publicity Director of APC, Bala Ibrahim, urged the PDP to head to the court, security agencies and regulatory bodies like the Independent National Electoral Commission instead of its usual media trial.
“Why issue a statement when you can prove your case in a competent court of law or a regulatory agent like INEC? There are statutory ways of dealing with it.
“I don’t know why people avoid using the court or investigative agencies to make their point. If they have proof, let them tender it. That’s why the courts, security agencies, and national financial units like EFCC and ICPC are there.
“It is obvious the PDP is seeing the sign of defeat and merely trying to rock the boat by coming up with all sorts of allegations to get public sympathy,” he stated.
Tinubu: APC Announces Indefinite Postponement Of Campaign Rally In Oyo
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has postponed its presidential rally in Oyo State following the protests rocking the state.
The party made this announcement on Monday.
DAILY POST reports that the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been billed to visit Ibadan on Tuesday in continuation of his presidential campaign.
The party, however, said it will no longer be holding the campaign rally as earlier planned.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in Oyo State, Wasiu Olawale Sadare, confirmed the postponement.
Sadare in a short statement made available to journalists on Monday noted that the postponement became necessary in view of the crisis caused by the scarcity of new naira notes and petroleum.
Sadare in the statement sent to DAILY POST in Ibadan said, “We regret to announce the indefinite postponement of our presidential rally earlier slated for tomorrow (Tuesday).
“The decision was taken, apparently, in consideration to the prevailing challenges facing the people and the need to allow President Muhammadu Buhari work around the situation and ensure that normalcy return particularly as it concerns fuel and currency notes crisis”.
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