…As Collection of PVCs Resumes Later This Month The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 2 for the conduct of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states. This was revealed in a statement issued by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, on Tuesday. According to
…As Collection of PVCs Resumes Later This Month
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 2 for the conduct of governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
This was revealed in a statement issued by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education, Mr Festus Okoye, on Tuesday.
According to him, the Commission at its meeting held on Tuesday approved the timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
He said the official notice for both elections will be issued on August 1, while political parties intending to field candidates are to hold their primaries from August 2 to 29.
The parties fielding candidates are required to submit the list of their agents not later than October 2.
Campaigns by political parties shall commence August 2 and end on October 31.
The review will focus on the planning, organisation, conduct and coordination of the general elections.
“Two sets of activities are envisaged in the reviews as follows: lnternal reviews involving National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Electoral Officers, Collation and Returning Officers, as well as other key staff of the Commission; Review meetings with key stakeholders such as political parties, civil society organizations, security agencies, the media and development partners.”
“These reviews and debriefing will take place between May and June 2019,” he said.
The Commission also said it has commenced work on a comprehensive report of the 2019 general elections and has mandated its Electoral Institute to undertake detailed researches into various aspects of the elections.
“It is the Commission’s hope that the outcomes of these reviews and studies will feed into further electoral reforms and its preparations for impending and future elections,” Mr Okoye said.
INEC also said it would resume the distribution of 11,228,582 uncollected permanent voter cards this month.
Okoye who spoke to Punch, noted that all the uncollected PVCs were still locked up at the Central Bank of Nigeria as promised by the Commission until after the elections.
Okoye, however, noted that a supplementary election in Rivers state had yet to be concluded.
“All the uncollected PVCs are still locked up because we promised to resume after the elections and, so far, we have concluded some of the elections. The last bit of elections will be done in Rivers State this weekend.”
“Immediately after we are sure we have concluded some of these elections, the collection of PVCs will resume. So, we will soon resume collection of PVCs but they are still with the Central Bank. The continuous voter registration and collection of PVCs are done at the local government level.”
“So, what the Commission will do is just to give an indication on when collection can resume but we have not given that indication yet. We are still busy with elections. But I am sure that within this month, definitely, the Commission will set a date when collection of PVCs will resume.”
Speaking on PVCs destroyed at the INEC office in Qua’an Pan LGA, Plateau State few days before the elections began, the INEC commissioner said the cards had been reproduced for all the voters who submitted their names for new PVCs.
“They (the PVCs) were taken to the local governments and the owners came and collected a substantial number of them,” he added.
Okoye also stated that the Commission would set a date for the commencement of new registrations.
He said, “We are just coming out from a major election and in the 2019 regular budget of the Commission, we made provision for the acquisition of new direct data capture machines that will enable us commence continuous voter registration.”
“So, I’m sure that the moment we finish we call ‘reverse logistics,’ that is, getting old materials that were used for the elections back to the custody of the Commission, we will announce the date for the commencement of registration of voters.”
“But definitely, we have a major election in Kogi and Bayelsa before the end of the year and we are going to do continuous voter registration, especially in those two states concerned. Continuous voter registration will be statewide in those states. In other places, it will just be at the level of the local governments.”
The INEC commissioner called for a multi-stakeholder approach to bolster voter registration and PVCs collections, adding that voters should refrain from waiting till the last minute to register for or collect their voter cards.
Meanwhile, the Police in Enugu on Tuesday used tear gas on some INEC ad-hoc staff at the just concluded general elections who protested the non-payment of their allowances in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who was at the scene, reports that the tear gas affected passersby, school children and motorists who ran helter-skelter for their lives.
NAN reports that the protesters comprising corps members, students and workers besieged the INEC headquarters in the state and blocked the entrance and exit to the building.
Mr Tony Ani, a 42 year old man, who served as an assistant presiding officer (APO 3) lamented the non payment of allowances for both the Presidential and Governorship Elections including the inhumane treatment meted out to them.
“You can imagine me at this my age coming here for the past three weeks over this issue of non payment.”
“I worked at Akama Primary School, Ezeagu Local Government during the Presidential and Governorship elections and we were told to fill attendance and payment details.”
“Ever since, we have not received payment and they will always tell us to write our names and account number just to pacify us, but as soon as we leave, they will trash it,” he said.
A Corps member, Miss Chioma Emmanuel, who worked at Igbo-Etiti, said she had not been paid any of the allowances including training allowance since the elections ended in the state.
She noted that the idea of the protest was formed when a WhatsApp page was created for those yet to receive their allowance.
In the same vein, a student of Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT) who claimed anonymity for fear of being disciplined by the school authority, berated INEC for treating the issue of allowance with levity.
“The painful thing was that after failing to adequately make provision for accommodation, they still refused to pay us. This money is what I hope to buy study materials and augment for my upkeep,” he said.
Reacting, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, Dr. Emeka Ononamadu described the protesters as `impostors’ sponsored to pressurize INEC into paying those that did not work.
Ononamadu, who refused to address the protesters, told journalists that those protesting were in the third category of payment.
“One thing you need to know is that there are three sets of people we are dealing with now. There are the corps members, those posted but did not work and those who were not posted but made the list because their names were subverted with that of others.”
“Those protesting are those students who are not corps members and who were not posted by INEC but bribed their way through and ended up working as (presiding officers) PO and (assistant presiding officer) APO 1.”
“Most of the protesters are in the third category of people and if you see any corps member among them, then it is either the fault of their Local Government Inspectors or head of mobilization because they are the ones we are dealing with directly.”
“I am determined and resolute that I will not pay those not vetted or those who did not work but wants to be paid.”
“We are talking about 20,000 people to be paid and we have to follow due process so it does not backfire on us.”
“It is only those that worked in Enugu North, East and Nsukka that we are sorting out now and they would have been paid since yesterday if not that the payment platform managed by CBN had issues but has been rectified,” he said.
Also, the Head of ICT, Mr Richard Onu said for three days now, he and his team had been working to ensure that the right people receive their pay.
“Even as I speak, some people are already receiving payment.
“Payment is not something that can be done in a hurry because there is a budget for payment and we have to ensure the right persons are paid. That is why we are going through the painstaking process of vetting.
“The only people yet to receive payment as at now are those who worked at Nsukka, Enugu North and East and it is because of the large number of people who worked there due to the large polling unit,” Onu said.
The ICT head also assured that those who were used to replace a lot of corps member who did not show up during the Presidential elections would also be sorted.
He urged them to exercise patience as all the right persons eligible for payment would be paid.
Workers were seen standing and watching the protesters who were chanting ‘INEC must pay us.’
As at the time of filing this report, the protesters have locked the gates leading to the building with chains and padlock, blocking staff and visitors’ access to the INEC office.