By Aherhoke Okioma
Three Southern states of Bayelsa, Rivers, and Ebonyi have emerged top on the list states in the country with the highest number of invalid Permanent Voters Card, PVCs. This was revealed as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC commenced the distribution of 1,390,519 cards nationwide ahead of the 2023 elections.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC said Bayelsa state top the list of invalid registrants with 67. 1 percent, while Ebonyi and Rivers followed with 60.1 and 53.2 respectively. Alagoa Morris, an environmental activist described the situation as confusing and blamed unscrupulous politicians and INEC officials for the lapse.
He said it was a sad and unfortunate situation, which added to the unacceptable low official population figure of Bayelsa state. According to Morris, “I do not understand” this invalid card of a thing and how our people are trending on such fraudulent and criminal act against democracy”.
He said there was more work to be done to prevent people winning elections with fake voters cards or such votes should be invalidated. Bodesei Akperi, a Public Affairs analyst noted that nearly 45 percent of completed registration cards nationwide were invalid according to the electoral body, adding that this figure rose as high as 60 percent or more in some states.
He posited that as far as he was concerned, no state is immune to this as the invalid registrants will not be included in the register of voters.
He further stated that the development was disturbing though time and resources have been expended in handling the cases, He said there were strong indications that some INEC officials may be culpable in causing all these infractions and they needed to be cautioned.