Tens of thousands of Nigerians were unable to get the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, ended its Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).
LEADERSHIP Weekend recalls that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had said that it would suspend the exercise on Aug 31, until after the 2019 elections. The suspension, earlier fixed for Aug 17, was moved till Aug 31 to allow more people to register.
In most registration centres visited by our reporters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, many residents told our correspondent that they had to pay as much as N500 and N1, 000 to register on deadline day.
Hundreds of prospective voters, within few days to the end of the exercise, had been trooping to the centres as early as 5am to write their names and book for early opportunities to be captured.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that despite the orderly arrangement, some staff of the commission took advantage of the situation to make brisk business with the collection of N200, N500 and N1, 000 to ensure quick registration.
At the INEC office at Onopa, Yenagoa Local Government Area, many people were locked outside the gate, while the few, whose names appeared top on the list, were allowed into the premises in trenches of tens for capturing.
Some of the intended voters, who spoke with newsmen, claimed that the main reason for the last minute rush was due to shortage of data capturing equipment for the exercise.
A resident, who identified himself as Pere Godstime, said that he had been frequent at the INEC office for the past three days without having a chance to be captured in the exercise, and urged the commission to always put necessary mechanism on ground during future registration exercises.
In Lagos, residents besieged registration centres across the state, yesterday, in a last-minute rush to beat the deadline as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) drew to a close, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
At centres visited yesterday, residents seeking to register in order to beat the deadline shared their experiences.
At INEC office in Ikotun/Igando Local Council Development Area, our correspondent reported that eligible voters had besieged the registration centre as at 7am.
Mr Olugbenga Ogundayo, a civil servant, said that he was at the centre at 5pm on Thursday and INEC officials gave him number 182 to come back yesterday, for registration.
According to him, this was because they (the officials) already had many people in queue to register on Thursday.
“As a worker, it is not easy for me to leave my work and come for the registration. Many times, l came here after close of work and they would say they had closed for the day.
”I have been on queue since 6.30 am with the number they gave me yesterday. They are yet to call us in for the exercise.
”I am praying they attend to me today; if not, INEC will have to extend this exercise so that many of us, especially workers, can be registered,” Ogundayo said.
A businesswoman, Mrs Romoke Akanji, said that the long queue had persisted in the last two weeks and she could not stand the rigour.
”The suffering is too much. I just said let me come and try my luck this morning, and as at 7.20am, they gave me number 480 in the queue.
”I am still wondering how long I will wait here because I have lost hope of being registered. We are begging them to extend the registration so that many of us can be captured,” she said.
A trader, Miss Francisca Esione, claimed that one registration centre in Ikotun/Igando could not cater for the large number of residents.
”I have been here three times before now, and today, I have been here since morning; you can see the crowd.
“What they have been doing in this centre is to register about 150 to 200 people; after that, they will stop for the day and ask us to go.
”They should just help us extend this registration and also create more centres so that we do not have to travel far, ” she said.
An INEC official at the centre, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the centre began registration at 9am and closed by 5.00pm and would only attend to people in queue.
”We register about 250 to 300 people a day but you know, since the exercise is closing today, people are coming out in their numbers because many Nigerians like to wait for the last minute.
”As you can see, we are calling them in by their numbers because the crowd is too much; it is the best way to control the crowd and make our work easy,” he said.
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