The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Oyo State has said that no fewer than one million, four thousand, seven hundred and seventy seven Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs), were still in the custody of the commission five weeks to the general elections.
Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Barrister Mutiu Agboke, made this declaration during the inaugural meeting of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held on Thursday in Ibadan, the state capital.
Agboke, while speaking, said that the final list of governorship and House of Assembly candidates that will reflect the withdrawal, replacement and substitution of candidates done by the various political parties in Oyo State will be published on January 31.
Agboke lamented that out of the 2,934, 107 registered voters in the state, “only 1, 958, 069 have collected their permanent voter cards, leaving 1, 004, 577 cards uncollected”.
He called the owners of the unclaimed PVCs to utilize the available window for collection to visit INEC office in the local government areas and other designated areas.
The REC, who said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was ready for the elections, tasked the heads of security agencies in the committee to ensure adequate security for all ad hoc staff, INEC offices, and election materials as well as provide peaceful atmosphere for voting.
While charging the security agencies to identify flashpoints and sponsors of electoral violence, he urged them to be committed to “securing the registration area centres where the corps members recruited to serve as presiding officers and assistant presiding officers will be camped overnight.”
He assured stakeholders that smart card readers, which he said had been upgraded for better performance and efficiency, would be deployed for voter verification and authentication during the election.
He promised to engage with traditional rulers and religious leaders as part of efforts to step up voter mibilisation and sensitization.
Commissioner of Police in the state, Abiodun Odude, who co-chairs the committee with the REC, assured that the security agencies would deal with any threat that might happen before, during and after the election.
He added that, “I don’t see them as a big threat. They could be some threat, but we are working on them.
“We have mapped out strategies with which we are going to deal with them. The skirmishes that happened can’t directly now be linked with anything political. They are just thugs in about three areas.”