387,000 PVCs await collection in Abia, REC calls for closure of markets

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About 25 days to the commencement of the 2019 polls, a total of 387,000 permanent voters cards (PVCs ) are said to be awaiting collection from INEC by their owners in Abia State.

The state Resident Electoral Commissioner ( REC) Dr Joseph Iloh disclosed this yesterday in Umuahia the state capital, during a press briefing with heads after a joint meeting of the inter-agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES) held at state INEC Head Office with security agencies.

The long meeting which was facilitated by Hope Givers Initiative (HGI) ( a non-governmental organization ) geared towards enthroning a culture of transparent, free, fair, credible and violent free election in the coming poll, had in attendance the heads of security agencies in the state, relevant federal agencies, including the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

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He explained that the PVCs cannot be collected by proxy and that nobody will vote without presenting his/her PVC for identification.

He suggested closing of markets as was done during the continuing voter registration (CVR ) exercise to compel registered voters to go and collect their ready PVCs.

According to the REC, closure of markets on designated days by the Abia State Market Traders Association (ASMATA) during the last CVR exercise greatly enhanced the participation of traders in the exercise in Abia State.

He described as worrisome that “after an impressive turnout of prospective voters during the CVR exercise, registered voters have been lukewarm in collecting their ready PVCs assuring that INEC was poised to deliver a credible poll in Abia State.

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He indicated that local government headquarters would no longer be used collation centers to prevent past experience where opposition parties were reportedly denied access to the centers.

State Police Commissioner of police, Mr. Chris Ezike said that it was ICCES resolution at the meeting that security must be provided at all the 4,065 voting points in Abia despite the expansive state. “We commend the people of Abia for the peaceful process so far and we implore all political actors to conduct themselves in accordance with the law”.

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