Politics

2023: Coalition for Peter Obi warns INEC against disenfranchising millions of Nigerians

By TUNDE JOSHUA

Coalition for Peter Obi (CPO) made up of 17 support groups for the Labour Party’s presidential candidate has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) against disenfranchising millions of Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general elections.

CPO also called on the electoral body to extend the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC). The 17 groups have embarked on massive voter education campaign, supporting citizens to register and collect their PVC, online and at various INEC offices.

The Coalition stated that reports from around the country show that INEC lacks the capacity to register the millions of Nigerians, especially youths, arguing that there have been complaints that Nigerians spend hours waiting to be captured.

The Coalition in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Marcel Ngogbehei, encouraged its members to embark on voter education, providing clear information on PVC registration and supporting the logistics to distribute millions of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) that are currently in INEC custody.

The Chairman listed the various groups involved in the Voters Sensitisation Exercise and asks the general public to volunteer or support with money and logistics, adding that this is a collective task.

Mr Ngogbehei lamented the lackadaisical attitude of some INEC staff in various states, but also praised the dedication of staff in many locations, and further stated. “CPO estimates that one INEC machine can only register 1 person in 10mins, an average of 900 persons per month.

Therefore, a Local Government Area with 2 INEC machines can only register 1800 persons per month if operating at 100% capacity, but with the present capacity, INEC needs 4 years of continuous voters’ registration exercise to capture the millions of eligible Nigerians.

“INEC is hereby advised to expand its logistics operations, establish mobile registration centres, strategically move registration centres to highly populated areas like markets, partner with market leaders to encourage PVC collection, send text messages to voters on their PVC collections, allow people to book online for PVC collections and consider senior citizens in their 80s or 90s that have mobility challenges.

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“INEC should start now to consider their stakeholders and implement strategies that will provide better customer value unless they intend to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians who are eager to exercise their civic rights in the general elections.

“The Electoral body should do everything possible to cater for thousands that are currently stranded trying to register in the various locations or in the alternative, expand its logistics and extend the deadline by 6 months. “Nigerians must be allowed to freely express their civic rights at this critical time of our nation’s history.

“As a Coalition for Peter Obi’s presidential ambition, we have embarked on voter education, PVC registration and support logistics to distribute the PVC across the length and breadth of this country and calls on the public to support the various groups”

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