Dr Adetokunbo Pearse, a PDP stalwart in Lagos State on Sunday charged INEC to decentralise the production of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to accelerate issuance.
Pearse, the Convener, Reset Lagos and chairmanship contender in the aborted Oct. 16 PDP State Congress, gave the charge when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said it was disheartening that five months after the commencement of the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) INEC had not issued a single PVC to registrants.
“INEC is yet to issue me the PVC I registered for since 2012 registration exercise.
“It has not produced my PVC and I did everything you can imagine as a governorship candidate in 2019. I could not get my PVC till today.
“I even called INEC few days ago, and I was told it was not ready. Meanwhile, it will not allow me to do a new registration. We must begin to shout now. I plan to do a real protest on this soon,’’ he said.
Pearse said that he would take INEC to court if the commission failed to issue his PVC soonest and those of others with unresolved PVC issues.
“If INEC does not give out PVCs to people that applied for it in the next three months, it should be held responsible for suppressing the votes.
“We will not go into election under such circumstances. We are shouting now so that before we get to the middle of 2022, every eligible applicant for PVC must have their PVCs.
“The cards should be produced right away; otherwise we will take INEC to court.
“It is almost a little too late for INEC to start production and distribution of PVCs in preparation for the 2023 general elections,’’ Pearse stressed.
He suggested that INEC should allow people with Temporary Voter Cards (TVC) to vote in 2023 if it failed to produce PVCs since there was no difference between information on the TVCs and those on the PVCs.
He also urged INEC to speed up its registration and decentralise the issuance of the cards to avoid crises.
Pearse cited an example about issuance of ATM cards by banks which used to take up to one week after the request was made, but now took only a few minutes to be issued.
“Technology has gone so far. I don’t know what INEC’s challenge is. Five months after commencing nationwide CVR, not a single person has been issued the PVC. This is rather too slow and unimpressive.
“I think it is a ploy to keep people disenfranchised and an attempt to suppress the people’s democratic rights.
“Why does the commission want to wait until few months to election before printing of PVCs? The delay will bring the rush and stress from which we are trying to run,’’ Pearse said.
He called on INEC to decentralise the production of the PVCs to zonal or state offices to ease and facilitate the process.
“INEC should take a clue from the banking sector to make the printing of the PVCs in the country to be fast like is witnessed in the banks today; we need to emulate good innovations,’’ he said.
“It is negligence of duty to expect that all PVCs will be produced in Abuja and taken to each state; it is a clog in the wheel of electoral progress that will never work.
“Since it is not working, we must consider the alternative. We need to decentralise the production looking at how big the country is,’’ he added.