The Indepedent National Electoral Commission is on the verge of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of prospective voters in Nigeria unless urgent steps are taken to remedy a dire situation.

A good number of people who visited the Commission’s office in Garki, Abuja early this month were turned back without their Permanent Voters Card.

The Network investigation revealed that many prospective voters who transferred their voting units are affected as their cards are not yet printed by the INEC.

While some people were lucky to have gotten their cards, INEC officials simply told their less fortunate prospective voters that the cards were not printed.

The Network correspondent who was also affected, presented a slip from INEC after the transfer of his voting unit from Wuse Zone 5 to Gwarimpa in the FCT without any convincing explanation for the non availability of his new PVC by INEC officials.

The INEC officials simply said those affected should wait while admitting that producing PVCs is beyond them.

Disturbed by the increasing prospect of disenfranchisement, the Network contacted the INEC Commissioner in charge of Information and Voters Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, on January 6, 2023. Okoye read the message on WhatsApp but ignored him.

Okoye responded to another message sent to him on WhatsApp on Friday January 20, promising to check and revert.

Curiously, seven days after, Okoye has not provided any explanation on the predicament of those who successfully transferred their voting units to new locations with their cards still not printed as at date.

As it stands, the inquiry to the Commissioner for information and voter education of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Festus Okoye, did not yield any fruitful result.

Okoye simply said he would check and revert. Since then he has refused to respond to messages on the matter thereby signifying that INEC has no solution to the seeming deliberate disenfranchisement of eligible Nigerian citizens from voting in an election.

“Good morning Sir, I went to INEC to collect my PVC but was told it was not printed. I have done a successful transfer of the polling unit. Do I use my old voter card to vote in the new point or do I use it to vote in the former. I am confused now that the transfer has been made.

Please kindly advise at your own convenience what I should do in this situation where I am facing possible disenfranchisement.”
Thank you Sir.

Sadly, Okoye could not respond to the inquiry and has continually ignored all messages to him.

A similar message to the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, did not yield any result.

The INEC Chairman spokesman neither picked his calls nor did he respond to a message to his mobile telephone on WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu has insisted that no eligible voter in Nigeria will be allowed to cast vote in the forthcoming general elections without a Permanent Voter Card (PVC).

Thousands of people whose cards were scheduled for printing but were not are facing disenfranchisement.

With the transfer of their polling units, their old voter cards seem to be invalidated. Even the INEC Commissioner in charge of information and voter education does not seem to have an answer to this situation.