Election: Only Those With PVC Will Vote – INEC Insists

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Monday, explained before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, why it will not allow registered voters that failed to collect their Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, before the deadline, to participate in the forthcoming general elections.

The electoral body, through its team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Abdulaziz Sani, while urging the court to dismiss a suit that is seeking to compel it to allow those with temporary voters card or proof of registration, to vote on election day, maintained that the PVC is critical to its planned accreditation process.

INEC told the court that unlike in previous elections where it allowed eligible electorates that had issues with accreditation, to vote after filing the Incident Form, it said in the impending elections, only those with PVCs that were duly authenticated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, would be allowed to cast their ballot.

The Commission was responding to a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/2348/2022, which alleged a plot to disenfranchise over 20 million eligible voters in the country.

The suit was brought before the court by a non-governmental organization under the aegis of the Incorporated Trustees of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, alongside two other plaintiffs- Emmanuel Chukwuka and Bruno Okeahialam.

The plaintiffs told the court that they filed the suit for themselves and on behalf of registered voters about to be disenfranchised by INEC in the 2023 general elections.

In the suit that had INEC as the sole Defendant, the Plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Max Ozoaka, argued that in view of several administrative bottlenecks and challenges that are currently trailing the collection of PVCs across the federation, many registered voters would be denied the right to exercise their franchise.

They asked the court to determine whether; “Having regard to the clear and unambiguous relevant provision of the Electoral Act, 2022, and the true intendment of Section 47 (1) thereof, whether the defendant, can as a consequence of their own contraption, bottleneck, compromise and negligence, disenfranchise or otherwise deprive the plaintiffs and a class of persons they represent in this suit, the right and opportunity to vote in the forthcoming general election fixed for February 25 to March 12, 2023”.

Upon determination of the legal question, the plaintiffs, are praying to the court for: “A Declaration that having duly registered and been captured in the Defendant‘s Register of Voters and electronic database of registered voters, the Plaintiffs and all persons they represent in this suit are entitled to exercise their right to vote in the forthcoming general elections fixed for February to March 2023.

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