The Independent National Electoral Commission in Lagos State has said over four million permanent voter cards have been distributed in the state ahead of the presidential election on Saturday.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Akin Orebiyi, said this at a stakeholders’ forum in Ikeja, Lagos, attended by politicians, executives of political parties, security personnel, indigenous groups, market women and men, civil society organisations, traditional and religious rulers, as well as the physically challenged.
Orebiyi said, “On behalf of the commission, I would like to express our apology for the challenges and difficulties that quite a number of us might have experienced in the course of obtaining your PVCs.
“We had serious production challenges. But I am happy to say, as of today, INEC has delivered a substantial amount of the PVCs. In most places, it is not less than 97 per cent.
“In Lagos, out of 5.8 million PVCs, it has been possible for us to receive well over 5.6 million of the cards. These are available for distribution.”
The Lagos REC, however, noted that about 1.5 million eligible voters had yet to collect their PVCs and urged the participants at the programme to visit their polling units to collect their voter cards as soon as the programme was over.
“Each of the 8,462 polling unit in Lagos State are alive with officials to ensure that you can still collect your PVC,” he said.
Orebiyi further noted that the commission in the state had obtained sensitive materials for the elections, including ballot papers and election result sheets from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The REC added, “As I speak, officials are at the CBN with party agents to collect the sensitive materials. The sensitive materials are, specifically, the ballot papers and the result sheets. These are customised for each state and they have serial numbers in order to prevent people hijacking ballot papers and running away with them to mix them up with those of other polling units.
“We have also taken time to ensure that these papers cannot be duplicated or fabricated by anybody. I have been to the CBN this morning. I have seen them unwrapped, but I wouldn’t know what colours they look like. And I can’t see the colours ahead of agents. All of us will see them at the same time.
“They have been packed according to local governments. We are not going to open them tomorrow (Thursday) when we distribute them to the 20 local government offices of INEC in the state. Accompanied with security escorts, the materials will be delivered to the local government INEC offices.”
The resident commissioner stated that the materials would be unpacked for the first time at the local governments and distributed to the state’s 245 wards or registration areas, which would serve as collation centres during the polls.