The Independent National Electoral Commission raised concerns about the 2023 elections on Wednesday, citing the 20 million Permanent Voters Cards that have yet to be claimed by their owners.
The commission also criticized citizens’ low participation in the ongoing continuous voter registration drive.
Mary Nkem, INEC’s Deputy Director (Voter Education), stated this in Abuja during the launch of the PVC Bus Drive project, which was organized by the Advocacy for Civic Engagement, a non-governmental organization.
As a result, she urged Nigerians, particularly the youth, to participate actively in the process of electing new leaders.
She believes that votes, not social media, will determine the winners of the 2023 general elections.
“This CVR exercise began on June 30, 2021; however, we have discovered that the turnout has been relatively low between that time and a few weeks ago,” Nkem said.
“If the youth in this country would come out en masse to cast their votes, we will no longer be recording 15 or 20 per cent voter turnout in our elections, because we know that the population of the youth alone can make the difference.
“The youth no longer visit the social media, they basically live there today. Therefore, when you want to reach out to them, you must go to where you will meet them – social media.
“However, I will like to say that INEC does not conduct elections on social media neither do we count ballots on Twitter or Instagram.
“Our ballots are counted in the ballot box. It is only the ballot paper that enters into the ballot box that the commission counts.
“So, what does that mean? It means that on election day, people must go out to cast their votes. For you to be able to do so, you must be a registered voter and in possession of a PVC.”
In Ondo, 296, 965 PVCs remain unclaimed.
In Ondo State, INEC has revealed that 296, 965 PVCs have yet to be collected.
The commission stated that previously printed PVCs that were not collected are still available for collection by owners at the state’s 18 local government INEC offices.
Dr Rufus Akeju, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, revealed this to journalists on Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters office in Akure, the state capital.
He said, “The CVR exercise is now in its fourth phase which commenced on April 11 and will end on June 30, 2022. As at May 30, 2022, the registration figure stands at 123,981.
“A total of 21,749 PVCs were received by electorates in the state for the first and second phases of the CVR exercise and are currently being distributed at our various local government area offices. Those who registered during these phases are to avail themselves of this opportunity to collect their PVCs.
“However, 296,965 previously printed PVCs uncollected are still available for collection by the rightful owners at the various Local Government INEC Offices.”