The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Monday, commenced the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at its local government offices nationwide.
The News Agency of Nigeria reporter who monitored the collection of the PVCs in FCT, reports that the exercise commenced simultaneously at INCE, FCT headquarters and its six area council offices.
NAN reports that some of the registered voters in their hundreds were seen on the queue at the gate at INEC FCT state office for the collection of their cards.
NAN reports that the collection was done in wards in the FCT, depending on the mode of registration, including those who did fresh registration, transfers, requested for replacement and others.
Some of the residents who spoke to NAN expressed mixed reactions to the exercise.
A resident, Dare Ezekiel, after collection of his PVC commended the process for the collection, saying it went on well and smoothly.
Ezekiel who said that he collected his card in less than 30 minutes, however, said there was a need to re-strategise the coordination of the crowd at the gate.
“Already, the process had been simplified by arranging the collection points into wards, if the crowd can be better coordinated it would improve the process,’’ Ezekiel said.
Another Resident, Ewa Ogbonna, said he arrived at the commission some minutes past 8am and collected his card before 9 am without any stress.
“I did a transfer sometime in July and collected my card today. I must commend INEC. It did not take me up to 15 minutes to collect my card.
“I think the problem is we, the registered voters. If we can be more organised, and respect INEC guidelines, the process will be faster,’’ Ogbonna said.
However, Mr Adunbi Adebayo, another resident, who just collected his PVC, said the process of collection was cumbersome because of the volume of cards involved.
Adebayo advised INEC to further simplify the process by adopting an electronic system such as database.
“INEC should input every detail of the card in the database, using it to retrieve the PVCs.
“The time they are using to locate an individual’s card would have been reduced if data is used for the process,’’ Adunbi said.
Opara Johnson, another resident who was yet to get his card after he did the transfer of his cards, advised INEC to make the process more organised.
Johnson said that the crowd was much, the process was slow and some people jumped the queue, depriving those who arrived early the opportunity to access the gate for collection.
“This is demoralizing. There is no guarantee that everybody standing here today will get their PVCs.
“You don’t expect me to leave my business, come here to queue and not able to collect my PVC and at the end of the day you still want me to come back tomorrow,’’ Johnson said.
He advised INEC to adopt the measure of sending SMS to people with appointment on specific date and time to come for the collection of their PVCs as it was done during the voter registration exercise.
A member of the Nigeria Youth Service Corps, Sofiat Ohunene, who just collected her card, also commended the exercise, saying it was orderly and well arranged for smooth collection.
Ohunene said it took her more than 30 minutes to collect her cards because people were not cooperating with INEC in following the process for collection.
“I just collected my PVC and the process is very fast. Though some people are complaining but I believe the process would be faster by tomorrow.
“I am very happy that I am going to participate in the 2023 general elections,” Ohunene said.
INEC has fixed between Dec. 12, 2022, and Jan. 22, 2023, as the dates for PVC collection in all its 774 local government offices nationwide from 9 a.m to 3p.m daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
The exercise is expected to be devolved to the 8,809 registration areas and wards from Friday, Jan. 6, to Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023.
After Jan. 15, 2023, the exercise will revert to the local government offices of the commission until Jan. 22, 2023.