Nigerians Call For Public Holiday For PVC Distribution

A lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Sebastine Hon, and the Inter Party Advisory Council have called on both federal and state governments to declare public holidays to ensure accelerated distribution and collection of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, in preparation for the general elections scheduled to hold in February 2015.

In a statement issued on Friday, Hon cautioned that the on-going debate on the shifting of the February polls, which is anchored on insecurity in some regions and non-collection of PVCs could spark violence in the country, and suggested that both federal and state governments should declare holidays to enable public servants collect their PVCs.

“There is also no doubt that if not carefully managed, this debate and, a fortiori, any attempt to shift the said polls, may snowball into a political violence of unquantifiable proportions. May that day never come again in Nigeria.

The lawyer cited the provisions of Section 2(2) of the Public Holidays Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as empowering state governments to declare such holiday.

“One sure way out is for the various state governments to individually designate some days as public holidays for this all-important exercise to be carried out by Nigerians wishing to exercise their civic responsibilities,” he suggested.

He stated further:

“The power of state governments to designate some days as public holidays is derivable from section 2(2) of the Public Holidays Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which is to the following effect:

“(2) Subject to Section 1 of this Act, the governor of a state may by public notice appoint a special day to be kept as a public holiday in the state concerned or in any part thereof, and any day so appointed shall be kept as a public holiday.’”

He observed that the premise for postponement rested on the inability of many Nigerians have not collected their permanent voter cards and wondered why the federal government had not heeded calls to declare public holidays for the distribution even as election date draws near..

Speaking in the same vein, chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, Yinusa Tanko, also called on the federal government to declare a public holiday to facilitate collection of PVCs across the nation.

Tanko made this call Friday after concluding a meeting with chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega.

“The challenge is that so many people are finding it difficult to leave their places of work to chase PVCs. Some of the places where the (collection) offices are are far from where people are domiciled. If there is a general holiday, people would know that the day is for the collection of the PVC and they would spare time to go and collect it.”



    Warning that the present poor collection record could have an adverse effect on Nigeria’s democracy, he stressed the importance for having the scheduled election hold as planned.

    “We can’t afford to go back to the (era of) June 12 when we had an election and the military truncated it. Therefore, we (the parties) have developed an attitude that says let’s find a solution to the problem,” he stressed.

    Perhaps responding to calls for public holidays, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has stated that, in its bid to ensure that members of the public who have not collected their PVCs get an opportunity to do so, the states under its control will declare two days of public holiday before the February 14, 2015 presidential election.

    The APC disclosed this on Friday at the APC presidential campaign rally which held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, in Lagos.


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