The Head of Voter Education and Publicity, Independent National Electoral Commission, Ekiti State, Femi Akinbiyi, has said Ekiti and Osun states were excluded from the continuous voter education billed to end on Saturday because they already had their turn.
Akinbiyi said there were CVRs in Ekiti and Osun states before the governorship elections, which held on June 18 and July 16 respectively.
He said the exercise culminated in the production of the permanent voter cards for the registered voters in the two states, adding that anybody still willing to register for PVCs in the two states should wait till after the 2023 general elections.
The INEC spokesperson, who spoke in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said, “Ekiti and Osun states are not involved in the extension of CVR. Ekiti and Osun states had the opportunity before the June 18 and July 16 governorship elections in the respective states. They are not included in the extension for other states.”
While speaking on the issue of ending the CVR 90 days before election, Akinbiyi said, “Some people have gone to court on that matter. The commission extended it to July 31.
“If extended further, it would affect the calculation of producing cards for people. The cards for Ekiti and Osun voters had been produced. That was the reason they were not included in that of the other states.
Akinbiyi, who dismissed insinuations in some quarters that the exclusion of Ekiti State from the CVR after the governorship election would disenfranchise potential voters, queried where such people were before the June 18 election when the opportunity was available.
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He said, “They have always been saying they would be disenfranchised. Where were they all along? In Ekiti State, after all the noise, how many people came out to vote? How many collected their PVCs?
The INEC spokesperson, however, urged registered voters in Ekiti who had yet to collect their cards to take delivery of the items.
“Collection of PVCs in Ekiti State is ongoing. They can go to INEC area offices in the local governments where they registered to collect their cards for the general elections.
“In Ekiti State, the number of PVCs yet to be collected is about 200,000 because out of about 983,000 before the election, about 700,000 have collected their cards,” he said.
The Chairman of the Labour Party in Ekiti State, Odunayo Okunade, who said the exclusion of the state from the CVR would disenfranchise some potential voters, added that his party had petitioned INEC’s National Chairman on the matter.
Okunade, who said many adults of voting age that had not registered before had, following the emergence of Peter Obi as the LP presidential candidate, suddenly developed interest in registering for PVCs.
He noted that they were denied the opportunity in Ekiti and Osun states.