By: David Fidelis
The New Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Ondo State, Dr. Rufus Akeju has disclosed that 370, 464 thousand Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs are still in its coffers and remain unclaimed stressing that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC might be forced to burn the unclaimed permanent voter cards PVCs before the 2019 elections to prevent them from getting to the wrong hands.
Dr. Rufus Akeju disclosed this today at a familarization visit journalists in Ondo State held at the NUJ Press Center, Adegbemile, in Akure.
The new REC said a total of 1,659,186 voters were registered in the state, 1,288,722 PVCs has been claimed while 370,464 thousand PVCs still remains unclaimed.
The Ondo INEC Boss who pleaded with the journalist to help the commission in educating the general public on the activities of the commission, said burning the cards subject to the commission’s directive and ratification would prevent unscrupulous persons from using them to frustrate the 2019 elections.
He said the commission has made several efforts to reach out to the owners of the over 370, 000 unclaimed PVCs to no avail.
“We might burn the unclaimed cards because we don’t wont them to get to the wrong hands and frustrate our efforts in the 2019 election.
“We are doing everything to find out if the owners are still alive and we have told you some of the possibilities that might have happened to the owners. Whether they are transit students, corps members or did double registration, collected one and ran away. It can be anything. It’s not just in the state but many other states.”
“It is in an attempt to protect the integrity of the election that we are considering of we could do instead of letting the cards lie fallow.”
“We may not even burn them, we can incinerate them or pour chemical on them, whatever way to make sure they don’t fall into the wrongs hands. But INEC is yet to decide what to do, until we have exhausted all our efforts.”
Akeju, however, said the commission is stepping up continuous voters education with advocacy visits to stakeholders including traditional ruler to enlist their support for a successful 2019 election.
The new REC also charged journalists in Ondo State on balance reporting as the commission is fully prepared for the 2019 general elections .
” We’ve service all our PVCs to ensure efficient capturing of data, we’ve also trained our staff in order to ensure that they are transparent in all their doings”.
Some of the entourage of the new REC to the Pen House include Barr. Francis Lawal, Legal Head ; Mr. Waheed Onijo, Head, of Administration Section; Mrs. Betty Abimbola, Head of Finance; Mr Awoniyi, the PRO of the commission among others.
Responding, the Ondo NUJ Chairman, James Sowole promised professional reportage for all activities of the commission once the commission is not ready to frustrate it’s members assuring the commission of the integrity of journalist in Ondo State.