72.77m Nigerians to decide Buhari, Atiku's fate on Saturday

Atiku (left) Buhari(right): Atiku criticicises decision of Buhari to spend $1.5 billion to rehabilitate Port Harcourt refinery

Atiku (left) Buhari(right): Atiku criticicises decision of Buhari to spend $1.5 billion to rehabilitate Port Harcourt refinery

Atiku and Buhari

No fewer than 72.77 million Nigerians will decide the fate of President Muhammadu Buhari and his challenger, Atiku Abubakar in Saturday’s Presidential election in the country.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC ) had on Thursday said 72,775,502 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), representing 86. 63 per cent of the 84,004,084 registered voters nationwide were collected at the deadline for the collection of the cards.

The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that 11,228,582 or 13.14 per cent of the printed cards were yet to be collected.

“At yesterday briefing, we promised to make public detail information of collection of PVCs nationwide. The commission as a matter of policy has said that no citizen can vote without PVC issued by the commission and read by the Card Reader.

“Having announced the total number of registered voters and the distribution by age, gender and occupation. The citizen deserves the right to know how many PVCs had been collected across the country.

“The last day for the collection of PVCs was Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, out of the 84,004,084 registered voters, the total number of registered voters stands at 72,775,502, which represent 86 .83 per cent of the PVCs.’’

Yakubu, however, said that a total of 11,228,582 printed PVCs or 13. 7 per cent were uncollected.

“Out of this figure 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014 to 2016 registration exercise, while 3,410,677 are from the last CVR held between April 2017 and August 2018.

“All uncollected cards have been deposited with the CBN for custody.’’

Yakubu said that details of the information on PVCs on state by state were available at the commission’s website, with the Infographic.

The chairman also disclosed that 19 states had fully deployed election materials including the non-sensitive materials to the local government areas, except for Bayelsa where materials would be deployed directly from the state INEC office.

“There is no state that has not commenced deployment to local government areas. In fact, 19 states have fully deployed.

“By the end of the day, all states and the FCT would have deployed, expect Bayelsa State which is moving direct from our state office in Yenegoa to Registration Area Centres (RACs) tomorrow.

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“Tomorrow activities at the ward level will commence with the activation of the RACs at 9 a.m, while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at the midday.

“This is the last scheduled course to the last deployment to 119, 973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8 a.m in the morning of Saturday,” said the chief electoral officer.

On the welfare of the members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) participating in the election, Yakubu said that the commission was not happy about images on social medial where NYSC members were seen sleeping on the floor.

He said that the commission would provide water, electricity and other facilities needed as well as security for the NYSC members.

He also said that the commission was working with the Nigerian Immigration Service to extend the date for international observers who are on short term entry visa, as well as ease their re-entry if they want to go and return to observe state elections scheduled for March 9.

“In order to make the process easier, the NIS working with the commission is granting extension of visa to all international observers that required such facility.

“Similarly, the Immigration Service is also granting re-entry visa to all who may wish to travel out of the country and return for the second part of the election.

“In this regard the service has requested me to convene the decision to wave the visa fees and all grants of such request expeditiously.

“The extension of stay or re-entry into the country will be granted gratis.’’

Yakubu said all affected international observers could approach the INEC headquarters to get their visa renewed or extended gratis.

He appreciated the stakeholders for their continued understanding with the commission.

While fielding questions from journalists, Yakubu said he has seen no reason whatsoever contemplating to resign as INEC chairman, adding that “there is no evidence that the commission efforts was been sabotaged’’.