10th November, 2014
With so many hitches that marred the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) in several states across Nigeria on Friday, many Nigerians are wondering if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can successfully organise general elections in less than four months.
After more than three years of preparation and billions of naira spent on logistics to organise a successful electoral process, INEC was still caught napping on Friday, the day it had scheduled to start distributing PVCs in some states. For the umpteenth time, INEC’s crass ineptitude has again reared its ugly head.
As a result of that shambolic start, INEC had to extend the PVC distribution in Lagos, Ogun and Kano States. The distribution of voter cards was to take place between Friday and Sunday. It would now end on Monday 10 November.
In many polling units and wards in several states, electoral officers failed to show up allegedly because the cards were not available or had not been supplied by the printer. Many people who had gathered for the commencement of the exercise went back home empty handed and extremely disappointed.
INEC’s inefficiency is shocking to many people and threatens to derail the entire electoral process in 2015. It also might erode the little confidence Nigerians still had in Professor Attahiru Jega.
We find it really troubling and awful that after years of preparation, INEC cannot successfully distribute voter cards in just a few states. We wonder how the electoral commission would be able to successfully organise elections in over 30 states the same day.
Besides, the Lagos State Government has challenged INEC to explain why the number of registered voters in the state suddenly plummetted from over 6 million in 2011 to 4.8 million in 2015. The explanation provided by INEC has not been convincing.
Some stakeholders have alleged that the delay and flop by INEC could have been deliberate. They alleged that the electoral body might be planning to rig the elections in favour of the People’s Democratic Party.We cannot totally dismiss such allegations, given the fact that INEC has no excuse for its woeful performance in the distribution of the PVC. INEC must sit up and prove its critics wrong by making the process more effective and by ensuring that no one is disenfranchised.