Senate on Tuesday began investigation into lapses in the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Permanent Voters Card (PVC) registration process in the South East and South South which may lead to disenfranchisement of millions of voters.
Presenting the petition on behalf of South East/ South South Network (SESSnet), Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe told the lawmakers about worrisome lapses in the ongoing INEC Permanent Voters card (PVC) registration in the regions.
Consequently, Senate President, Bukola Saraki directed Senator Abaribe to submit the petition on the floor and mandated Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the matter within two weeks.
The petition reads in part: “Reports reaching SESSNet Secretariat regarding the INEC-PVC Registrations processes from our members and associates across the various Local Government Areas in the South-East and South-South region reveal a very flawed process epitomized by amongst other issues:
– Faulty or non-functioning equipment (computers and finger-print scanners),
– Poorly and/or improperly trained INEC personnel,
– Arbitrary demands from intending registrants [demands have included requests for copies of International Passports to show evidence of not being in Nigeria during the last registration of voters exercise in 2014 and evidence of employment]
– Insufficient or non-availability of either INEC personnel or registration material and equipment in some INEC Wards.
”The problems identified above cuts across, in various degrees, the 11 States of the S-East and S-South region.
“These problems has created widespread disillusion and anxiety amongst eligible voters in the region due to fears of likely disenfranchisement resulting from not being able to register within the time allotted for the process by INEC.
”The systematic and widespread nature of the problems encountered in the South-East and South-South during this INEC PVC Registration process, contrasts sharply with the smooth and hitch-free registration experienced in the Northern region and give rise to grave concerns.
”In the absence of any other explanations, this indicates a deliberate and express intention to ensure that likely voters in the South-East and South-South are disenfranchised.
”The current impasse in the INEC PVC Registration process in the South-East and South-South reminds of the very partial and pathetic experience witnessed in the region during the 2015 Presidential elections; when mass failure of INEC Voting equipment (computers and PVC and finger-print readers) and systemic failure of INEC personnel and material deployment disenfranchised many eligible voters.
”There is therefore palpable apprehension that this re-run of the 2015 failings, which may be repeated in 2019 – [signals] an early election rigging in progress.
In the light of the foregoing, SESSNet calls upon the leadership of the National Assembly to summon INEC leadership to explain the above stated anomalies.”