Protest In Ogun Over PVCs

The protesters this morning

The protesters this morning

Abiodun Onafuye/Abeokuta

Members of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, Ogun State chapter on Monday staged a peaceful protest to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Magbon area, along IBB Boulevard, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria, over the poor distribution of Permanent Voter’s Cards in the state.

The protest was staged after the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, last week accused INEC of bringing over 600,000 PVCs whose owners could not be traced to any part of the state. The governor maintained that INEC was out to disenfranchise many residents of the state from participating in the forthcoming general elections.

The CHDR members marched from Kuto roundabout to the office of the INEC protesting the lackadaisical manner the commission was distributing PVCs in the state.

Members of the human rights group marched with placards with various inscriptions such as: “INEC, give us our PVCs or face the wrath”, “Jega release Ogun PVCs”, “Don’t destroy democracy, release our PVCs”, “On March 28, April 11, we stand”, “Jega, don’t deny us our voting right,” among others.

The protesters this morning
The protesters this morning

During the protest, the CDHR Chairman in the state, Comrade Yinka Folarin, declared that they have no confidence in the Prof. Attahiru Jega-led INEC to conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country.

He said they are out to agitate for the rights of the people of the state and as well rejected what they referred to as “fabricated figures” given to some states under insurgency rule.

“We have come to INEC office to exercise and agitate for our rights. We have come to ask INEC what is the sin of our people that they won’t release our PVCs and to express our displeasure over the satanic agenda of Jega to disenfranchise the good people of Ogun State.

“We are here to say that all the irregularities in the distribution of the PVCs should not be at the detriment of the masses. There is no doubt that it is our fundamental human rights to collect our PVCs so as to partake in the process of voting for our choice leaders.

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“We have been bamboozled on the radio and television on a daily basis about the number of the PVCs they said they have distributed in the state. It is a big lie, not up to average percentage have so far collected theirs in the state. Why is INEC hoarding our PVCs? What is the intention of INEC for hoarding and can we still trust Jega to conduct credible elections in the country?” Folarin queried.

He called for the extension of the closing date for the collection of PVCs across the country from March 8 to March 19, 2015 and also urged the commission to distribute the PVCs through the polling units and not wards across the 20 local government areas of the state.

Addressing the CDHR members, the Administrative Secretary of INEC in the state, Mr Dickson Atiba, explained that the cards were not for aliens but for those who were living in the state before but have now relocated due to one reason or another.

According to him, “there are no alien cards in Ogun State. Those cards that the governor was referring to as alien cards are those that were meant for the state. Ogun State has the largest number of educational institutions in the country and some students who were here before and have completed their studies and some security personnel who have been transferred out of the state have their cards lying with us here. Who will collect them on their behalf?

“As at the time the governor was here last week, the number was around 600,000 plus but as we are speaking now, the number has reduced to 573,236. These numbers are those that are yet to be collected and we are not sleeping over it. We even received about 21 cards meant for Edo State and we have since returned them.

“I have instructed all the electoral officers across the state to forward the names of those that have not come to pick their cards and we will compile them and paste them at every local government area. That will enable people to just get there, check their names and once it is there, their cards will be given to them without much stress.”

He promised that all the remaining voter cards meant for the people in the state will be delivered before the end of this month.

Atiba revealed that Ogun State has a total of 1,795794 registered voters, and that INEC had so far received 1,368,875 voter cards, 795,962 out of which have been distributed.

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