The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Imo says it has 385, 654 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) yet to be collected by residents in the state.
Prof. Francis Ezeonu, the state INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), disclosed this at a one-day Stakeholders Forum held in Owerri on Wednesday.
He said that only 1,435 PVCs, which is about 0.004 per cent of the total 397,089 PVCs, had been collected so far.
Ezeonu expressed worry that registered voters were not desirous to collect their PVCs.
According to him, people could only exercise their political powers to the extent that they had the card to vote and chose their leaders.
“The commission is not also very satisfied that the women are not turning out in droves to register.
“The commission’s gender policy focuses at creating platforms for equal access and participation of both men and women in the electoral process,” he said.
Ezeonu appealed to women and other critical stakeholders to use the opportunity of the women’s annual August meeting to mobilise women to participate actively in the exercise.
On the ongoing voters registration, Ezeonu gave the total number of registered voters as 39,803 with more registered males of 23,158 PVCs (58 per cent) against 16,645 (42 per cent) females.
Giving a further breakdown, he said that 491 persons had requested for replacement with 332 PVCs recorded as displaced, while 159 PVCs were misplaced.
The resident electoral commissioner said that 1,628 persons in the state requested for transfer comprising 1,320 persons for interstate transfer and 308 persons for intra state transfer.
He gave the local government area with the highest registration turnout as Owerri Municipal with 4,539 pvcs, followed by Aboh Mbaise with 2,638 PVCs and Ngor Okpala having 2,544.
Onuimo LGA, he said, had the least number of registered voters with just 341 persons, Idiato South LGA and Ohaji Ebgema LGA trailed with 622 and 792 registered voters, respectively.
Ezeonu said that INEC, for the first time, was instituting a continuous voters’ registration (CVR) exercise unlike previous years.
He said the last registration began on April 29 and ended on July 20, adding that the list of those registered had been displayed in INEC offices in local government areas for claims and objections.
He urged the people, as major stakeholders in the Nigerian democratic project, to go and check their names, collect their PVCs even as the second phase of the exercise would resume on July 31.
Ezeonu said the forum was a call for synergy among the stakeholders, especially in creating more awareness and encouraging the people to go out and register.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the stakeholders had demanded for funds to enable them go to the grassroots to create the awareness.
They blamed INEC for most of the rigging during elections and its inability to go to the grassroots for registration.
The stakeholders said that INEC was encouraging political parties to rig by allowing them to go to the people for registration.
The state Chairman of ADC Party, Mr Nlem Ignatius, the State Chairman of AA Party and the Deputy Chairman Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Mr Anthony Ahanetu, agreed that INEC, as a federal institution, was well equipped to carry out its responsibility of registering voters. (NAN)