By Leonard Okachie
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Friday said it would begin the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) across the country in May.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Abia, Dr Joseph Iloh, said this at the 5th triennial delegates’ congress of Abia council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Umuahia on Friday.
Delivering a lecture on “Voter Registration: Foundation for Credible Election and Good Governance”, Iloh said that PVCs for those who registered before Dec. 31, 2017 had been produced for most states in the federation.
He, however, said that distribution of the cards would commence when production of the cards for the remaining states had been completed.
The REC explained that the delay in the production and distribution of the cards was occasioned by the fact that the job was being handled by one team.
He said that the decision to entrust the job to one team was to avoid a mismanagement of the process by multiple hands.
He appealed to the media and the public to exercise patience with INEC over the distribution of the PVCs.
Iloh said that the commission was doing its best to ensure that the 2019 general elections were not only free, fair and credible but that the people were happy at the end of the exercise.
He said that voter registration was a continuous exercise but would be suspended 30 days to the commencement of the general elections.
He expressed delight that the commission had deployed super-fast machines that had the capacity to register at least 500 persons per day in Abia.
The REC said that the measure had resulted in substantial increase in the number of registrants in the state.
He decried the lukewarm attitude of some citizens toward the discharge of their civic responsibilities by refusing to be captured in the voter register for the upcoming polls.
Iloh assured Abia indigenes that the election year would be violence-free, devoid of ballot-box snatching and intimidation of voters by desperate politicians, using thugs.
He said that card readers would be used during the polls, adding that the commission had taken inventory of functional and non-functional ones, while a new set was being expected in the state.
“We have also taken note of all the lapses in the last general elections and we are working hard to avoid those lapses in 2019 elections,” he said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the six-member executive committee of NUJ in the state was re-elected for another three-year term.
The team, which was inaugurated by the Vice President of NUJ, South-East Zone C, Mr Chris Isinguzo, is headed by Mr John Emejor of Information Chapel as Chairman.