Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr Mutiu Agboke, has appealed to owners of the 756,000 unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), to visit the Independent National Electoral Commission’s offices across the state to collect them before the August 17 deadline.
He made the appeal during an advocacy visit, in company with senior officials of the commission, to the Governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in his office, Ibadan, on Tuesday.
The REC said that the commission was concerned that so huge number of PVCs remained unclaimed ahead of the 2019 general election.
Agboke said that the reality informed the decision of the commission to continue to seek the support and collaboration of stakeholders to sensitize the electorate on the need for them to be active players in the democratic process.
The REC said: “We have been reaching out to major stakeholders in the state, such as traditional rulers and the House of Assembly, among others, in our bid to ensure a successful general election next year.
“We are not pleased that we still have 756,000 PVCs yet to be claimed by their owners. This is why we are appealing to the owners of these cards to visit our offices across the state to collect their PVC.”
“We express deep appreciation to Your Excellency for your decision to grant civil servants work-free hours to enable them to collect their PVCs before the August 17 deadline.
In his response, Ajimobi, said the state government would declare work-free hours for workers across the state to collect their PVCs in the last week of the registration exercise.
He said it was unacceptable that such a high number of the cards still remained uncollected and challenged INEC to step up the drive towards ensuring more residents of the state collected their PVCs before the next general elections.
The governor said that this would ensure increased participation of citizens in the political process in the state.
Ajimobi said: “We will do everything humanly possible to encourage our people to collect their PVCs before the general election, including declaring work-free hours for civil servants in the last week of the voter registration exercise.
“When you say our people are not collecting their PVCs and they are also complaining of not meeting INEC staff at the designated centres or that the machines are not working properly, then you need to look into this.
“We have to look into ways of addressing these issues. Please educate your people to do their work as expected, even if it requires recruiting ad hoc officials. And, if you require our support in whatever form, let us know.
“We have told our local government chairmen to mobilise and make the exercise easy for the people. But this must necessarily be done in conjunction with INEC officials.”
Ajimobi also urged the REC to ensure that the 2019 election was free and fair by putting up a system that would engender trust among the stakeholders.