The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has urged civil society organisations and the media to collaborate with the electoral body in sensitising the electorates on the need to collect their Permanent Voters Card.
INEC recently announced that over 7.9 million PVCs are yet to be collected by their owners across the country. According to the data released by INEC in April 2018, Lagos state has the highest number of uncollected PVCs with over 1.4 million PVCs as at March 22, 2018, followed by Oyo state with 647,586 PVCs and Edo state with 449,001 PVCs.
In a telephone interview with Newsbreak.ng recently, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the electoral commission interacted regularly with the CSOs and the media through its quarterly consultative meetings.
He, however, stated that the issue of raising awareness concerning the collection of the PVCs should be a “shared responsibility” amongst the institutions and not left only for INEC to carry out.
“We also try to interact with civil society organisations. We have what is called Quarterly Consultative Meetings, where we discuss matters of concern and they tell us their concern. They ask us questions and we also provide answers. And so, we try as much as possible to reach a large number of the civil society organisations. Even if you put all of the allocation of INEC on adverts, it would still not be enough.
“So, I think it is a shared responsibility that the media and the civil societies should help us achieve not as a government agency, but as their corporate social responsibility because it has to do with democracy. So this is a very important message that all stakeholders should help us to share in various languages; in vernacular, in Hausa, Igbo, Yourba, or Pidign or whatever way they can help us”, he said.
Oyekanmi also urged various interest groups, especially religious bodies, to help propagate the message of PVC collection to their members in order to have a massive voter turnout in the 2019 elections.
He said, “We are talking to interest groups, including religious leaders. Now, our religious leaders in churches and mosques are preaching to their subjects to collect their PVCs. I think that would help us in the long-run. So we will sustain this awareness campaign. I am sure between now and February 2019, a lot of Nigerians would turn up at our offices to collect their PVCs.”