A civil rights group has raised alarm over an alleged secret plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to disenfranchise and exclude a whopping 76m citizens from participating in February 2023 presidential polls.
The group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, also alleged that INEC is hell-bent on flooding the 2023 Presidential Poll with magic hinterland “votes” from 12 major poll-rigging Northern States.
This was disclosed in a statement jointly signed by the group’s Board Chair and Head, Democracy and Good Governance, Emeka Umeagbalasi and Chinwe Umeche, respectively, on Monday.
The Intersociety said the Electoral Commission is frustrating southerners from getting their PVCs through unavailability of PVCs, accusing INEC staff of extortion.
The group alleged that the number of PVCs distributed per State since Dec 12 2022, out of 29.5m uncollected PVCs remains unknown and undisclosed.
The statement partly read: “As it stands today, no fewer than whopping 76m Nigerians of constitutional voting age, excluding estimated 20m ineligible identities or illegal voters comprising underage age children, illegal migrants, fake names and stolen identities/PVCs, have undemocratically and dangerously been disenfranchised and excluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission from voting and participating in Nigeria’s Feb 25, 2023, crucial Presidential Poll.
”Also, out of the so-called “93.5m registered voters for 2023 general elections only 44m genuine PVC holders exist, out of which 10m have compromised their PVCs and VINs and sold their consciences to the devil.
“INEC has also been found to be unwilling and unable to prioritize the PVC distribution, including the Commission’s monumental failure to give daily and weekly national updates, especially the State by State breakdown of the total number of PVCs distributed so far and the number of pre-2019 and 2022 PVCs remaining; in addition to gender and ethnic and religious components of the newly distributed PVC recipients.
“INEC has further failed woefully to disclose how many of its claimed “newly printed 9.5m PVCs for newly registered 9.5m voters, 4m newly printed PVCs for transferred voters” and “pre- 2019 20m uncollected PVCs for those registered between 2011 and 2018” have been given or issued to their rightful owners. ‘ ‘It was also found that INEC woefully failed in its constitutional and statutory duties by not properly disclosing or publishing the names and locations of the country’s 8,809 electoral wards, which the Commission claimed to have designated as “PVC collection centres”.
”Found, too, are general complaints of PVC collectors being frustrated or forced to back out of the collection exercise following sundry hitches deliberately and discriminatorily created by the Commission, including unavailability of PVCs/INEC staffers and lateness of the concerned INEC staffers to work.
‘Reported, too, are difficulties in locating PVC collection centres and organized group violence or threat of the same targeted at non-native PVC collectors (i.e. non-native areas of Lagos State).
”The INEC PVC collection exercise is further characterized by reports of long queues in the South-East, South-South and major non-native parts of the South-West and FCT, etc, involving nursing mothers, the old and pregnant women queuing under scorching sun and heat for half a day in addition to sundry extortion at collection centres, especially in Anambra, Enugu and Imo States.
”The above disclosures are in addition to “magic hinterland presidential votes” strongly feared to have already been pencilled down by INEC from the North-West States of Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara; the North-East States of Bauchi, Yobe, Borno and Adamawa; and the North-Central State of Niger.
“Disenfranchisement of Nigerian citizens of full blood and those of legitimate naturalization by INEC and their exclusion from voting and participating in national or sub-national and local council polls especially the coming Presidential Poll of Feb 25, 2023, is ‘lubricantly’ inflaming Nigeria or any part thereof and pushing the country into complex uncertainties.