President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has advised the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, to immediately convene a meeting of stakeholders over the next month’s general elections.
Saraki said the meeting should, among others, formulate plans on how to render useless, the intention of politicians who he claimed were buying Permanent Voter Cards.
He gave the advice on Wednesday in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu.
He was reacting to a statement credited to Yakubu that some politicians were already scheming to purchase PVCs ahead of the elections.
He urged the INEC boss not to stop at raising the alarm but immediately devise watertight arrangement to make futile the efforts of such unscrupulous politicians.
Saraki said the development constituted a major threat to the successful conduct of the elections.
He said, “We have continued to maintain that manipulation of election results does not start and end on election day. It starts long before the day and goes on even after the declaration of results.
“That is why we have to continue to be vigilant and once we identify any threat to free, fair and credible elections like the INEC chairman has done, all stakeholders must put heads together to block the loopholes.
“All stakeholders must come up fast with a solution to render useless the antics of those who intend to procure voter cards.
“We all need to put our heads together and I am sure that such a stakeholders’ meeting will not only nip in the bud the looming danger, it will also engender general confidence in the system and create a system in which all stakeholders become problem solvers.”
Meanwhile, INEC has announced a six-day grace within which registered voters in Anambra State can collect their PVCs.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Nwachukwu Orji, stated this in a meeting with political parties in the state.
While appealing to stakeholders to encourage registered voters to collect their PVCs, the REC said about 180,000 PVCs had yet to be collected by the owners.
“The 180,000 PVCs are among 16 million newly-registered voters across the country and our thinking as a commission is that to achieve massive participation of Nigerians in the 2019 general elections, people should collect their cards,” he said.
The electoral body also on Thursday lamented that 1,004,577 PVCs remained uncollected in Oyo State.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mutiu Agboke, said out of the 2,934,107 registered voters in the state, only 1, 958,069 had collected their PVCs, leaving 1,004,577 cards uncollected.
He called on the owners of the unclaimed PVCs to utilise the available window for collection to visit INEC offices in their local government areas and other designated areas.