The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advised registered voters in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) not to wait till the last day before coming to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
Mrs Agnes Akpe, Head of Voter Education, Publicity, Gender and Civil societies Liaison Department, FCT INEC, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
Akpe said that the collection of the PVCs for registered voters in all the six area councils in FCT has started smoothly and everyone is encouraged to go and collect his or her card at the INEC office in his area of residence.
She said that the collection for those who newly registered in 2022 or applied for a transfer, and replacement of their cards started on Monday, while collection for old PVCs started since.
“After the experience of registration, I will not advise anybody to wait. Now is the time to get PVC. The earlier the better,” Akpe said.
“People actually came out very early. The response on the first day to me is actually very impressive. I think it’s a testament to the fact that the people now trust INEC.
“They believe in the credibility of INEC, that INEC has said the votes will count and because the votes will count they will come out to get their PVCs and ensure that their votes count.
“That’s why they are turning out. Otherwise, before it’s a general apathy, nobody is interested, but imagine them staying in the sun, coming out that early. There’s something they want and they’re determined to get it.”
Akpe said that the commission had put in place measures to make it smooth and stress free for FCT residents to collect their PVCs.
“In the first place, we have said it is decentralized to the six area councils. And that’s from Dec. 12 to Jan. 22, 2023.
“But at a point from Jan. 6 to Jan. 15, it will be devolve into the wards, so that people who could not come out can actually have access to get their own cards.
“Then from the Jan. 15, 2023, it will come back to the area councils. So I think we have done that and we have trained our desk officers and PVCs distributing officers. So everything is actually going smoothly.
“The cards have been packaged according to wards and all that, in a way that will make it move smoothly.”
On the collection of the cards at INEC FCT headquarters and its Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) office in Area 10, Akpe explained that it was part of the plan to make the collection closer to the people.
She advised those whose polling units are located in Karu, Orozo, Nyanyan and Karishi wards to go to INEC office in Karu for the collection of their cards, while residents in other wards should come to the Area 10 state office to get their cards.
“AMAC is large and it has always been the case. So it’s not now that we have made that demarcation, it has been there. Even during registration, we still had a centres here for AMAC.
“The centres here in Area 10 office is for the City Centre ward, Gariki Ward, Kabusa Ward, Wuse Ward, Gwarinpa Ward, Jiwa Ward and Gwagwa Ward are the ones that will pick up their cards from this angle.
“But for the others who are closer to Karu, those ones will now pick them up from there.
“Where you register doesn’t matter. If you are registered but assigned to a particular place, to a particular local government area or area council in this case, you go to that area council.
“If you are in Karishi, Orozo, Karu or Nyanyan, go to the Karu office,” Akpe said.
She, however, insisted that under no condition would cards be collected by proxy.