Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday accused some politicians of buying up Permanent Voter Cards and financially inducing voters to harvest their Voter Identification Numbers.
The commission also said two persons have been recently convicted for illegal possession of PVCs in Sokoto and Kano states.
The acting chairman of INEC and National Commissioner overseeing the FCT, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Plateau States, Mohammed Haruna, raised the alarm in Abuja during the launch of the #YourVoteMatters project by an election observer group, NESSACTION.
The project was supported by the International Foundation for Electoral System; the United States Agency for International Development and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
It aims to assist INEC in increasing the number of PVCs collected ahead of the 2023 general elections as well as the voters mobilised on election day.
Haruna said, “We are aware that some politicians are more or less buying the PVCs. If you collect the PVC and then you sell it out or allow someone else to have it, you are aiding illegal possession of the PVC which is an offence in our Electoral Act.
“Some of you are aware that only recently, INEC managed to convict two people who were found guilty of illegal possession of PVCs in Kano and Sokoto. So, I urge people to collect their PVCs, keep them safely, and make sure that on election day, you go out there and cast your votes because, of course, without your PVC you cannot vote.”
The Executive Director of NESSACTION, Eniola Cole, explained that the project scheduled for implementation in the FCT, Nasarawa, and Plateau states, would provide logistics and give incentives to communities with low PVC collection rates.
She commended INEC for gains made in the electoral process through technology and other reforms.
Cole said, “We implore the general public to take advantage of the timeframe set by INEC for PVC collection at the Commission’s LGA offices nationwide from December 12, 2022, to January 5, 2023, and at the 8809 Registration Areas from January 6, 2023, to January 22, 2023, including Saturdays and Sundays.
“The public can, through dedicated channels, inform us of their location to receive support including the PVC collection buses and community outreach activities to be conducted at the local level in each state by our community mobilisation officers.”