Festus Okoye, the Commissioner for Information and Voter Education for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said the electoral commission will meet on Friday to review the challenges associated with the permanent voter card (PVC) collection ahead of the February 25 and March 11 elections.
Okoye was a guest on Thursday’s BudgIT-organized Twitter talk show, “BudgIT Nigeria: Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Dismantling Voters’ Apathy,” which aimed to provide useful information about the commissions’ readiness for the upcoming general elections.
Reacting to questions about PVC collection and possible disenfranchisement of eligible voters on the grounds of a large number of uncollected PVCs, Okoye said, “The commission will meet tomorrow (Friday) to review the issue of PVC collection.” He promised that the commission will announce the outcome of the resolutions adopted at the Friday meeting on Saturday. “The commission will take a position on Saturday,” he said.
Read also: INEC: Okoye list measures the commission has applied to deal with Voter apathy
Prior to the moment when he informed the audience about the electoral body meeting, Okoye had urged eligible voters to exercise patience, saying that the commission had designed a system where those who are unable to get their PVCs will be contacted via email and phone to find a possible destination to enable them to get their cards.
Okoye also spoke about the concern of students at higher institutions of learning not getting the chance to cast their vote in the upcoming election. “We are aware the majority of students may not be able to vote,” he said. “Because many of them did their registrations at home when the schools were on strike.”
He agreed that their situation was a difficult one, but the commission was going to work with respective institutions to see how they could ease the voting process for such affected students.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the frosty relationship between the state commission and the civil society organisations (CSOs), Okoye promised to table the issue in the meeting on Friday and ensure that going forward both bodies work together to ensure a free, fair, and credible election. “We as a body want to collaborate with so many organisations such as the security service, civil society organisations and others, to ensure that we give the nation a free, fair, and credible election,” he said.