By Shedrack Frank, Yenagoa.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bayelsa State, Mr Emmanuel Hart, says the commission will begin the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to registrants from Dec. 12 to Jan. 22, 2023.
Hart, who said this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Yenagoa, stressed that the distribution was meant for new registrants, transfers, replacements and for those who wanted to update and make corrections on their voter cards.
Represented by the Administrative Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Okop Umobong, the REC said that the distribution would take place at the INEC Electoral Offices in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
Hart added that from Jan. 6, 2023, to 15, the distribution would be devolved to the various Wards and later back to the LGA Offices from Jan. 16 to Jan. 22. 2023
The REC pointed out that the commission’s staff had been trained on procedures that would facilitate a smooth, seamless and hitch-free exercise, adding that Help Desk Officers would be positioned at the local offices to assist individuals with challenges.
He noted that the number of registered voters in Bayelsa was 1,250,102, while the number of collected voters’ cards was more than 960,000.
He said the percentage of cards collection was poor.
The REC urged political parties to sensitise their members and the electorate to the need to collect their voter cards to avoid being disenfranchised in the coming elections.
Hart reminded political parties to submit the list of their party agents, in accordance with the timelines or on Dec. 30, 2022 for Presidential and National Assembly Elections and Jan. 6, 2023 for Governorship and State Assembly Elections.
“Our deliberations here today will bring you up to speed on the modalities for the collection of PVCs.
“As we concluded the display of the Voter Register for claims and objections, as required by law, we received at the state level batches of PVCs produced for all registrants, which include new registrants, transfers, replacements and updates/corrections.
“The PVCs have been sorted and counted by our Local Government Area staff and will be taken to the various INEC Electoral Offices, in readiness for collection by the owners,” he said.
The REC said that the commission had fixed Dec. 12 to Jan. 22, 2023 for the collection of PVCs, adding that the collection would be at the INEC Electoral Offices in the LGAs.
“However, we shall devolve to the Registration Areas (Wards) from Jan. 6, to 15, 2023. We shall revert to the LGA Offices from Jan 16 to Jan. 22, 2023.
“The collection will be every day from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. including Saturdays and Sundays.
“The commission’s staff have been briefed and trained on the procedures for the exercise to ensure it is seamless and hitch-free.
“Help Desk officers will be in each of the eight LGA Offices to assist individuals with challenges.
“We also have contact phone numbers for each Electoral Office for enquiries about the collection and request for assistance,” Hart said.