Some political parties have expressed serious concern over the high number of unclaimed Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by registered voters in Lagos State.
Principal officials of the parties expressed their concerns in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.
They said participation in the electoral process would be limited if people who registered to vote do not pick up their PVCs.
NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a report published recently said that 7,920,129 PVCs were unclaimed nationwide as of March 22, 2018.
According to the report, Lagos State has the highest number with 1,401,390 PVCs still awaiting collection.
The State Chairman of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Mallam Shakirudeen Olofin, described the situation as worrisome.
Olofin said the issue of unclaimed PVCs was not good for democracy.
“It is not in the interest of democracy for people to register to vote and not claim their cards.
“I mean, if they do not collect their cards how will they vote? How will they elect their leaders? How can our democracy grow?
“INEC should do a lot of sensitisation on the issue as some registered voters may not even be aware that their cards are ready.
“The commission should explore the different means of communication to reach the electorate on this issue,’’ he said.
The NNPP chairman said it was the civic responsibility of every eligible voter to participate in the electoral process and urged people to check their cards at the appropriate offices.
He said the NNPP would embark on aggressive campaign on the issue and urged all other parties to do the same.
Similarly, Mr Kola Ajayi, State Chairman, Alliance for Democracy (AD), decried the situation, calling on INEC to step up enlightenment on the issue.
Ajayi said that those unaware that their PVCs were ready tended to re-register amounting to multiple registration.
“We urge Nigerians who are yet to collect their cards to check at the appropriate offices near to them so that they could partake in the process,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the State Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Mr Fatai Ibu-Owo, said the problem arose from the long time it took to process the cards.
Ibu-Owo said the problem would have been averted if PVCs were issued by INEC as soon as people registered.
“It takes about three to four months to get PVCs after registration and sometimes more than that.
“As a result, some people forget they have even registered while others cannot go through the stress of looking for their cards amidst so many.
“But if the cards are issued on registration or shortly after, we think it will address the problem,’’ the NCP chairman said.
Ibu-Owo urged INEC to make the on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) less cumbersome as complaints of long queues to register were common.
On his part, the state Chairman of People’s Progressive Alliance, Mr Olumide Oguntoyinbo, appealed to residents to make efforts to collect their PVCs.
Oguntoyinbo said it was when they have their cards that they could partake in the process and choose their leaders. (NAN)