GEO-POLITICAL research consultancy firm SBM Intelligence has said only 30 per cent of registrants collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at first attempt.
SBM disclosed this in a report published following a survey it carried out in December 2022 on over 6000 registrants across 16 states.
According to the report, 79 per cent of Nigerians interviewed had successfully collected their PVCs, indicating a high desire to vote, but many experienced certain constraints, including recurrent visits to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) collection centres.
“A majority of those who have picked up have had to visit the INEC offices multiple times to get the PVCs. Only 30 per cent of the respondents were able to get their PVCs the first time they tried to collect,” the report said.
The report noted that about a quarter of the respondents of the survey encountered violence or abuse while attempting to collect their PVCs and called on the INEC to investigate the claims.
SBM Intelligence also noted that a wide margin exists between collection rates for new registrants and previous voters transferring their cards.
“The reasons given to Nigerians for PVCs not being available for pickup do not engender Trust. INEC needs to be more transparent with the actual reasons and call for logistical help where needed.
“Cases, where voters can find themselves on the Voters Register, displayed on the CVR portal, but their PVCS cannot be found and/or they are told they cannot be found on the system need to be documented and investigated.”
The organisation also recommended that a citizens’ complaint platform be included in the INEC portal to enable the Commission address the issues faster.
INEC was also urged to publish PVC collection statistics publicly to enable Nigerians track information on the status of their cards.
“Registrants needing multiple visits to the INEC office to get their PVCs is inefficient and costly to the registrant. Ultimately, some may give up.
“INEC needs to leverage the data it has collected to keep the registrants informed of the status of their PVCs from the comfort of their homes and only require them to come to the INEC office when there is confirmation that their PVC are available for collection,” the report added.
With the 2023 general elections less than two months away, many Nigerians have expressed frustration over collection of PVCs across the country.
A Lagos State resident and new registrant, Joel Chizaram, said attempts to collect his PVC has yielded no results since February 2022.
“Today makes it one year, five months and two days since I registered for my PVC. I have still not collected my card, and every time I go to the INEC office at Shomolu, they tell me it was omitted and that the incident will be reported.
“I have been asked to check back in two weeks time after every encounter since February 2022, still, no card. INEC, is this a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise me?” he posted via his Twitter handle on Wednesday, January 4.
A resident of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abosede Korede also told The ICIR that she could not collect her PVC upon her first visit to the INEC office.
“I went to the INEC office at Area 10 to collect my PVC, but my card was not available. I don’t know why they couldn’t find it. They just asked me to write my name and phone number in a paper and check back in two weeks,” she said.