Barely three weeks to the Presidential General Election, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement, YIAGA Africa, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to extend the date for Nigerians to allow them more time for collection of their Permanent Voters Cards. The Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, alongside his Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, and Head of Election Projects, Paul James, during a roundtable interaction with the media team in Abuja made this call on behalf of the office yesterday while listing how his office is planning to impact on the general election.
According to Itodo, “We are involved with the PVC collection process, and currently, we deployed volunteers across Lagos and Abuja, and across States like Abia under the voting support initiative, and these citizens supporting INEC in the distribution of the PVCs.
“But three things have come up around the PVCs and we would like to use this opportunity to also put that on the table.
He explained, “That one, INEC validated over 2 million records. Now these 2 million records of people, INEC didn’t publish the list of these people, and so these people whose records have been invalidated are not aware, they show up at the collection centres, only to be told that their PVCs are not ready and they have been invalidated.
“But INEC would have published the list of all the invalidated PVCs, so people know and INEC has the contact details of those people, INEC should have contacted those people so they don’t show up at the collection centres thinking their PVCs are ready.
“Secondly, is the unprinted PVCs, there are people whose records were not invalidated, but they show up and INEC informs them that their PVCs are not ready and asked them to come back in two weeks.
Itodo appealed that within the two weeks, they are calling on the INEC that much impact would be if the electoral umpire succumb to its appeal so that many Nigerians would have the opportunity to cast their vote on election day.
While calling on the INEC further, he added “the PVC collection is indeed a welcome development but looking at all these logistics issues if, by the 29th of January, sufficient PVCs have not been collected, then INEC should consider an extension for the PVC collection to enable people to collect their PVCs because Nigerians are determined to vote in the next elections.”
Meanwhile, he assured Nigerians, “I would want to inform the Nigerian people that with all we do at Yiaga Africa with all that we have reeled out a doubt is to protect the integrity of the process and we will stand by the Nigerian people to ensure that their votes count and the process is devoid of all forms of manipulation.”