By Olagoke Olatoye
Scores of prospective voters on Tuesday besieged the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in all the local government areas in Ogun to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Correspondents, who monitored the exercise in some location, report that people took advantage of the two days public holiday declared by the state government for workers to collect their PVCs.
At the Oke-Ilewo Annex office of INEC, the designated venue for Abeokuta South Local Government area, scores of people were seen in long queues for collection of their PVCs.
Many others, who could not stand long in queues, took refuge under the trees in the designated centres.
The exercise, which started at about 9.00 a.m in some of the centres visited, was peaceful and orderly.
But, the INEC officials had difficult times controlling the people, as well as sorting out the cards, due to huge numbers of people in queues to attend to.
While some of the people were able to collect their PVCs, many who were not so lucky were asked to come back on Wednesday.
Some of the electorate, who spoke with NAN, expressed mixed reactions over the exercise.
One of them, who simply identified himself as Johnson, said that there was no enough INEC officials on ground to attend to the people.
“INEC should have envisaged that there will be a huge crowd today and deployed more officials to ease the process.
“I got here around 9.20 a.m and I am just collecting my PVC as at 2.30.p.m.,” Johnson lamented.
Another person, Mrs Elizabeth Okafor, commended the commission for the peaceful conduct of the exercise, saying, “people only need to exercise patience to collect their cards”.
A trader, simply identified as Ben, blamed INEC for inadequate publicity on the change of venue for the collection of PVCs.
According to him, INEC did not inform us of the change of venue from Iyana-Mortuary collection centre for residents of Abeokuta-South Local Government area to Oke-Ilewo.
“Many of us have been at the Iyana-Mortuary collection centre for Abeokuta-South Local Government since 8.30 a.m, waiting for INEC officials, not knowing that the venue has been changed.
“On getting here at about 11.00 a.m, we met a huge crowd and the process of collection has been slow.
“I am not sure I can get my PVC today, because INEC officials told us they will close by 3.00 p.m.
“I expect that they should extend their closing time to 6.00 p.m to be able to attend to more people,” he said.
The situation was the same at other collection centres including Abeokuta North Local Government, where many prospective voters thronged the places to collect their PVCs.
Commenting, Mr Akeem Balogun, the Electoral Officer for the Abeokuta-South Local Government, told NAN that the recent burning of INEC’s office at Iyana-Mortuary necessitated the change of venue.
Balogun, however, said that the change had since been publicised through many sources and avenues.
He explained that the issue of multiple registration was partly responsible for failure of many people to collect their PVCs.
Balogun further explained that others could not get their PVCs because the Ogun office had not taken delivery of them from the national headquarters in Abuja.
“Many PVCs are being re-printed because of the attack on some of our offices. As soon as we take delivery of them, we shall distribute them to the owners.
“Many people have taken advantage of the two days holiday declared by the state government.
“And, we have a large crowd, but we are attending to them and everything is going on smoothly as many have collected their PVCs.
“We shall also be here tomorrow and until Sunday when the exercise will close.
We believe that within that period, we would have collected and distributed the cards to them,” he said. (NAN)