PVC Deadline: Fear Of Being Disenfranchised Rise In Bayelsa
"I don't just feel cold, l am also hungry, but because of the rain, all the shops are locked.
"I pray they attend to those of us wet by the rain so that we can go home," a resident of Bayelsa State, who simply identified herself as Rebecca, said while waiting to be registered for her Permanent Voter card (PVC).
Most of them at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Onopa, Ovom area of Yenagoa, had arrived even before 4:00 a.m. to pick a number ahead of the registration which begins at about 9:00 a.m.
It had rained heavily on the day, but they came in early to beat the deadline for the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) registration.
The compound could not contain them, as the queue extended to the outer part of the building.
Eligible voters had arrived that early, knowing that without getting the tally number before a specific time of the day, they would have to come another day.
Drenched to her undies and shivering vigorously, Rebecca, who just turned 18 years was at the premises to register.
She told Bounce News that she turned 18 on August 15.
Today is my first time of coming for registration.
"I arrived by 3:28 a.m. still my tally number is 107.
"My parents insisted that I should get my PVC," she said.
While waiting, Rebecca was not sure of when the officials of INEC would get to her number.
At the queue outside the premises, a resident, Mr Simangi Desmond, blamed the man at the gate for the slow pace of registration.
Pointing towards the gate, he said: "That tall man at the gate is very rude.
"If they remove him from that post, the queue will move faster.
"He keeps attending to familiar faces despite the fact that we came before them".
A journalist, Priye Ebi, who was also there for her registration accused the officials of INEC from withholding information from her.
"They have refused to grant me interview. "They won't talk to me nor register me.
"I am so frustrated right now," she stressed.
While some participants expressed disappointed with the services rendered by INEC officials at Onopa, some residents are of the opinion that the registration post at Okutukutu town hall, which was faster in terms of service delivery, should resume work.
So many of those yet to register fear they may may be disenfranchised.
An INEC Electoral Officer at Onopa office, Mr Nabie Tombari, told Bounce News that they came in at about 5:00 a.m everyday for the registration exercise.
"We give out tally numbers and by 9:a.m, we commence registration," he said.
He stated that there was no requirement for registering a first timer.
While this process is still on, PVCs of already registered persons are lying at INEC's office and the official of INEC asked already registered residents to come and collect them.
"Most people that registered in 2017 have not come to claim their PVC, but those registering now, will collect their permanent cards between November and the first week of December, 2018.
Mr Tombari, however, refused to disclose the number of abandoned PVCs, stressing that it was not in his power to divulge such information to the press.
He also sought the cooperation of Bayelsans, stressing that at different occasions, they had to employ the services of armed security agents to help maintain peace and order at the venue.
Registration date have been extended till the end of August, 2018.
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