The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has disclosed that no fewer than 385, 654 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), were yet to be collected by residents in Imo state.
INEC lamented that weeks after completing voters’ registration exercise, the registered voters were not desirous to collect their PVCs from their offices.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for the state, Prof. Francis Ezeonu, disclosed the statistics of uncollected PVCs at a one-day Stakeholders Forum held in Owerri on Wednesday.
He hinted that only 1,435 PVCs, which is about 0.004 per cent of the total 397,089 PVCs, had been collected so far, saying, the number negates importance of the card.
According to INEC official, people could only exercise their political powers to the extent that they had the card to vote and chose their leaders.
He however lamented that the commission was uncomfortable with women in the state because they were not turning out in droves to register in ongoing registration exercise.
Ezeonu said: “The commission’s gender policy focuses at creating platforms for equal access and participation of both men and women in the electoral process.”
The REC appealed to women and other critical stakeholders to use the opportunity of the women’s annual August meeting to mobilise women to participate actively in the exercise.
On the ongoing voters registration, Ezeonu disclosed that the number of registered voters stood at 39,803 with more registered males of 23,158 PVCs (58 per cent) as against 16,645 (42 per cent) females.
Giving a further breakdown, he said that 491 persons had requested for replacement with 332 PVCs recorded as displaced, while 159 PVCs were misplaced.
The resident electoral commissioner said that 1,628 persons in the state requested for transfer comprising 1,320 persons for interstate transfer and 308 persons for intra state transfer.
He gave the local government area with the highest registration turnout as Owerri Municipal with 4,539 pvcs, followed by Aboh Mbaise with 2,638 PVCs and Ngor Okpala having 2,544.
Onuimo LGA, he said, had the least number of registered voters with just 341 persons, Idiato South LGA and Ohaji Ebgema LGA trailed with 622 and 792 registered voters, respectively.
Ezeonu said that INEC, for the first time, was instituting a continuous voters’ registration (CVR) exercise unlike previous years, recalling that the last registration began on April 29 and ended on July 20.
The INEC official added that the list of those registered had been displayed in INEC offices in local government areas for claims and objections.
He urged the people, as major stakeholders in the Nigerian democratic project, to go and check their names, collect their PVCs even as the second phase of the exercise would resume on July 31.
Ezeonu said the forum was a call for synergy among the stakeholders, especially in creating more awareness and encouraging the people to go out and register.