The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Delta state, Revd Monday Udoh Tom has said that the 2023 general electionss will not be conducted as usual, hence he called on politicians and political parties to mobilise their followers to collect their permanent voters’ cards as that is the only criteria for voting during the election.
He said the belief that anything could be manipulated to win the election was no longer possible as the commission has tightened every loose end, saying it is only PVCs that are collected that would be counted for voters on the election day.
The Delta REC who decried the non-chalant attitude of leaders of political parties to stakeholders meetings called by INEC, said politicians and political parties are the beneficiaries of the PVCs, arguing that without collection of the PVCs, the mass rallies and campaigns would not yield needed result.
At the stakeholders meeting called on Tuesday by INEC in Delta state, all the leading political parties in the state were conspicuously absent as only journalists, a Reverend Father, few members of civil society groups were at the meeting with INEC officials from the 25 local government areas of the state.
Revd Udoh Tom who said INEC has done all it could to mobilise Deltans to collect the PVCs, expressed disappointment at the response from both the political parties and the people of Delta state, saying though INEC is doing a thankless job, the people and politicians in Delta are not responsive to the calls of INEC.
He said political parties are supposed to be in the forefront in the collection of PVCs but regrettably the parties do not show up for meetings just as they are not sensitizing their people to collect their PVCs.
He said INEC staff are going through pains to ensure the cards are collected but the response from the political parties and the people has remained abysmally poor.
In a speech delivered at the stakeholders meeting, Revd Udoh Tom said following the display of preliminary register of voters to correct some anomalies in the register, a total of 1,562 claims were made while 65 objections were recorded across the state.
He also said arising from the visit to the 5863 polling units across the state, it was discovered that 930 polling units are above 999 registered voters and that 169 polling units are being considered for decongestion.
He also said the Delta INEC headquarters has received the 2022 Permanent Voters Cards and collection is scheduled to commence on December 12 and end January 22, 2022.
He said collection of the PVCs at INEC local government offices would begin from December 12 to January 6 while collection of PVCs at ward levels would begin from January 6 to 15, 2023, thereafter it would return to local government level from 15 to 22 January 2023.
In preparation for the rollout of PVC collection, he said the commission has stepped up stakeholders engagement, within the next 7 days to mobilize registrants to come out and collect their PVCs. He identified seven strategies to reach voters in all levels.
He identified creation of whatsapp groups at both the state and LGA level, with contacts of persons under the categories specified above, with Desk Officers as admin of the whatsapp platform.
He also identified sensitization to markets, motor parks, traditional rulers, road walk to mosques, cinema viewing centres and churches across the 25 local government areas of the state.
He said this strategy is intended to help the commission reach as many stakeholders as possible before the December 12 roll out of PVC collection.
The head of information and communication technology in the INEC office, Engr. Mba Onuoha, said so far 16.2 percent of PVCs have been collected in Delta state. She added that 17,115 transfers were made while 70,300 new registration have been made available.
Onuoha who was represented by Engr. Mercy Ehikhametalor, said a total of 326576 PVCs are available both old and new with 52,868 so far collected, adding that the commission has been pleading with all Deltans to collect their PVCs.