Amid calls by some stakeholders, with the most recent coming from the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) that dates for the general election in February should be postponed, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has declared that there was no operational reason, including the concerns over the distribution of the PVCs, to postpone the polls.
The commission further added that it was not aware of concerns by the presidency over complaints of the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs.
The NSA, yesterday, during a talk show at Chatham House, the London think-tank group, said he had discussed the issue of postponement of the polls with the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, adding that a delay within the time frame allowed by the law will not be a bad idea.
“That is what we are encouraging at the moment”, Dasuki said, noting that INEC had been able to distribute 30 million PVCs but had an outstanding 30 million others to hand out.
But, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Kayode Idowu, said: “We have not received any official or unofficial communication to that effect. From the point of our operation, the commission has not seen any good basis to postpone the election”.
Mr. Idowu, however, pointed out that information available to the commission with regards to what transpired at the London meeting, was contrary to what the NSA was quoted to have said.
He stated that the claims that 30 million PVCs were uncollected are not true, noting that there has been accelerated distribution and collection of cards since the decentralisation of the process.
According to the INEC chairman’s spokesman, rough estimates indicate that the collection process has surpassed 70 percent since the decentralisation of the distribution of the cards at the ward level.
“Where are the 30 million cards that have not been collected? Statistics are cold; they are not flighty. By the commission’s rough estimation, even though we have not collected the raw data from the states, we have cases of over 26,000 PVCs collected in states in a space of three days, and this could be the trend across the country.
“I can assure you that the percentage is much higher than 70 percent.
“What we do is that immediately the cards come in, we move them to the states. We just moved four million cards recently”, Idowu explained.
He assured that before the end of the month most of the PVCs would have been distributed and collected.