By Stanley Nwanosike
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor its staff frustrating the smooth collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in parts of the South-East.
The Chairman of CLO in Anambra, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, made the call while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Sunday on the ongoing collection of PVCs in council areas in the South-East.
Ezekwueme noted that his organisation had received and still receiving torrents of complaints of registrants that suffered tremendously to register and still find it very difficult “if not impossible“ to collect their PVCs in South-East, especially in Anambra.
According to him, one pertinent question from frustrated registrants in Anambra is whether INEC officials treat residents of other states the same way because their relations and friends from other states told them how they easily collected their PVCs.
“An elderly statesman and community leader, Chief Mentus Onwuaso, decried how he tried unsuccessfully three times to register to no avail until the intervention of CLO and still for three times he has been to INEC office to collect his PVC, without success.
“Also, Chief Joseph Okeke lamented that he abandoned his business for three days to obtain his PVC without success.
“A nursing mother, Mrs Elizabeth Obi, told us that she has gone to get her PVC as a patriotic and law abiding citizen but was unsuccessful.
“This frustration and discouragement may lead to abandonment of many PVCs and disenfranchisement of many residents,” he said.
Ezekwueme urged INEC to beam its searchlight and fish out bad eggs frustrating the collection of PVCs among its staff in the commission and prosecute them, adding that this would certainly act as a deterrent to others.
The CLO boss, however, warned that if urgent and immediate steps were not taking, the voting strength of the entire South-East would be below expectations.
He said: “We reiterate our earlier appeal on INEC to device strategic and less cumbersome ways of PVC distribution.
“Finally, religious, traditional, markets, town unions and civil society organisations leaders should redouble their efforts towards mobilising residents for active participation in the electoral process.” (NAN)