THE All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council in the South-West has asked governors elected on the platform of the party to declare Tuesday, January 24, 2022, as work-free day to enable residents to collect their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs).
THE council said this in a communique signed by Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, coordinator of the campaign council and Ondo State Governor, and Isaacs Kekemeke, deputy coordinator. Meanwhile, the Lagos State government had already announced January 24 to 27 as work-free days to enable civil servants in the state to collect their PVCs.
THE announcement was contained in a statement by the state Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola. The work-free days would commence on Tuesday, January 24, and end on Friday, January 27, 2023, for different grade levels of workers in the public service.
THE public holiday in the Southwest, tagged “Operation Collect your PVC,” is as a result of what the council described as low rate of collection of PVC in several states in the geo-political zone.
WHILE the forthcoming general election, which is just about a month from now, presents Nigerians with an opportunity to choose those who will pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years, The Hope observes that just as stated by the south west political leaders, a lot of people have not deemed it necessary to collect what would enable them to perform their civic responsibility on the election day – the PVC.
LAST month at an event in Abeokuta, former Ogun State Governor, Chief Segun Osoba, revealed that South-west had the highest number of uncollected (PVCs) nationwide. Chief Osoba, while describing PVCs as the real votes, lamented that about five million PVCs were yet to be collected in the South-west..
THE HOPE notes that even though the total number of registered voters in Nigeria may have risen from 84 million to 96.2 million, that has not translated to a substantial increase in the number of people who take steps to collect their PVCs. For example,
FOR the records, Ondo State, which boasts of 2.047.598 registered voters has 313,200 uncollected PVCs; there are 460,643 uncollected PVCs in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as of December 24 and 1,693,963 uncollected PVCs in Lagos State as of December 29 despite the magnanimity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to extend the deadline for the collection of PVCs across the country by eight days, to allow more people to collect their cards from the local government level down to the ward level. The fact that this holiday is coming towards the new deadline of January 29 given by INEC shows the importance of the matter. Therefore, members of the public are encouraged to catch on the opportunity and that must not be wasted.
WE reaffirm our previous admonition to state governments to initiate short-term policies that would encourage people to respond positively towards the collection of their PVCs. We, therefore, commend the southwest governors for this move which is obviously a positive response to our admonition.
WE wish to remind the public that registering without collecting PVC is as good as not registering at all, because such an action will deny affected citizens the opportunity of contributing their quota to the political development of the country.
HOWEVER , as good as it is to collect PVC, we want to encourage Nigerians not to stop at that point but troop out on the election days to perform their civic responsibility. Nigerians should bear it in mind that politics is a game of numbers; therefore, only those who vote will determine who the next leaders will be.
WE also want to admonish traditional rulers, religious leaders and civil society organisations to take advantage of their influence and encourage their followers, not only to collect their PVCs, but vote on the election days. States in other parts of the country can also follow this example shown by the south west governors.
ON the part of INEC, it should mobilise enough human and material resources to cope with the crowd that may turn out for PVC collection. With the data of the electorate at its disposal, technology can also be employed in the dissemination of information to the people on how, where and when to collect their PVCs.