Less than four days to the commencement of the 2019 general elections, electorates in Kogi State have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) of hoarding their Permanent Voter Card (PVC).

They are accusing INEC of connivance with the All Progressives Congress Party (APC).

The electorates turned out in their numbers at the INEC headquarters even after the date for the collection of PVC has been closed.

"Una wan sell our votes for APC, we no go gree, our votes na our right, INEC, give us our PVCs...." they chanted in pidgin English, with allegations that INEC wanted to sell their votes to the APC.

They chanted in loud voices even when the offices were shut from inside. It was not enough to discourage them, as some people maintained their queues under the scorching sun hoping that they will be attended to.

It was gathered that the electorates had thronged the INEC headquarters following a text message received on their mobile phones emphasising that their PVCs remained their power to elect new leaders of their choice.

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They had come to see if INEC would at least distribute the printed cards they had on ground despite the announcement that PVC collection has been stopped till after the elections.

Mr Kabiru Asiwaju who spoke with Bounce News said he has been visiting INEC headquarters for two years now without getting his PVC.

He lamented that before the Kogi/Koton-Karfe Bye Elections which was conducted on August 11, 2018, he had visited the office.

"They kept giving me different appointment dates to come for his PVC," he said.

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"I know INEC is doing what they are doing deliberately, because if you look at it,you will see that their officials are not attending to us because they want to keep our cards with them and use it for APC, but it will not work because it is our right," he said angrily.

"Yes! We know its a deliberate ploy to disenfranchise us in the forthcoming election.

"How can INEC tell us to come back after election for the PVC I've been asking for, for more than five years?" Mrs Juliana Eleojo questioned, as she walked away in disappointment.

Bounce News' sought audience with official of INEC through the window, as all doors to their offices were shut, but they all declined speaking on the matter, saying their boss was not in the office. 

Upon further interrogation, one of the staff claimed that about 40% of  those asking for PVCs were not registered with INEC but were asking for PVC.

"We have our registers and we know those we've captured during registration exercise and they were the people we sent text messages to, so the rest who are not registered will come after the election", the official said.

When the State Director Voter Education Mr Biambo Ahmed, was contacted, he said 269,000 voter cards were yet to be collected out of 1.6 million registered voters.

Biambo said the commission had been carrying out aggressive campaigns on voter education to avoid a "last hour rush".

He said only those with their PVCs will be allowed into the voting points on election day.

INEC had extended the date for the collection of PVCs to February 11, 2019, to enable eligible voters collect their cards and exercise their franchise, but many are yet to get their PVCs which translates to automatic disenfranchisement.


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