The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor its staff, which is frustrating the smooth collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in parts of the South-East.
Vincent Ezekwueme, Chairman of CLO in Anambra, made the call in Enugu on Sunday regarding the ongoing collection of PVCs in council areas in the southeast.
Mr Ezekwueme noted that his organization had received and is still receiving torrents of complaints from registrants who suffered tremendously to register and still find it very difficult, “if not impossible“ to collect their PVCs in the South-East, especially in Anambra.
According to him, one pertinent question from frustrated registrants in Anambra is whether INEC officials treat residents of other states the same way because their relatives and friends from other states told them how they easily collected their PVCs.
“An elderly statesman and community leader, Chief Mentus Onwuaso, decried how he tried unsuccessfully three times to register to no avail until the intervention of the CLO, and still three times he has been to the INEC office to collect his PVC, without success.
“Also, Chief Joseph Okeke lamented that he abandoned his business for three days to obtain his PVC without success.”
“A nursing mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Obi, told us that she had gone to get her PVC as a patriotic and law-abiding citizen but was unsuccessful.
“This frustration and discouragement may lead to the abandonment of many PVCs and the disenfranchisement of many residents,” he said.
Mr Ezekwueme urged INEC to beam its searchlight and fish out bad eggs, frustrating the collection of PVCs among its staff in the commission and prosecuting them, adding that this would certainly act as a deterrent to others.
The CLO boss, however, warned that if urgent and immediate steps were not taken, the voting strength of the entire South-East would be below expectations.
“We reiterate our earlier appeal to INEC to devise strategic and less cumbersome methods of PVC distribution,” he said.
“Finally, religious, traditional, markets, town unions and civil society organisations leaders should redouble their efforts towards mobilising residents for active participation in the electoral process.”