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2023: 6.7million PVCs Uncollected In 17 States, INEC Targets Markets



No fewer than 6.7 million Nigerians have yet to collect their permanent voter cards less than eigth weeks to the general elections.

Data obtained from the state offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission on Tuesday revealed that 6.7 m PVCs were locked up in INEC safes across 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The INEC had announced that the collection window for PVCs will commence December 12, 2022 and end on January 22, 2023.

The INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed in a statement that with effect from January 6 -15,2023  the collection of the PVCs will be devolved to the ward level after which collection would be moved to the local government areas.

Record shows that past elections were marred by voters’ apathy.

During the 2019 general elections, the INEC said it had about 82.3m registered voters, however only 28.6m voted in the polls which resulted in the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari who polled 15m to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar, who scored 11.2m votes.

During the Lagos governorship elections, less than 2m voted in the poll which was won by Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the APC. He garnered 739,445 votes to defeat Jimi Agbaje of the PDP who got 206,141 votes.

Data from the Lagos state INEC office revealed that as of December 29, a total of 1,693,963 PVCs remained uncollected. This was disclosed in a document tagged ‘INEC Lagos PVCs Reports.’

It stated, “Old PVCs received from headquarters – 6,570,291; old PVCs collected up till December 29, 2022 – 5,653,330. Total uncollected old PVCs – 916,961; New PVCs received from headquarters – 940,200; New PVCs collected as at December 29, 2022 – 163,198.

“Total uncollected New PVCs –777,022; Overall total PVCs received from headquarters- 7,510,491; Overall PVCs collected as at December 29, 2022 -5,816,528; Overall PVCs uncollected 1,693,963.’’

The INEC Director of Voter Education, Lagos State, Mrs Adenike Tadeshe, told The PUNCH that about 14,000 people collect their voter cards daily, noting that the commission would soon take the PVCs distribution to the wards.

She said, “I will not say we have a huge number of uncollected PVCs. Looking at the figures, as of December 29, 2022 we have given out 5,816,528 PVCs, so we are now left with 1,693,963 and we want to put in record that on a daily basis in Lagos State, we give out about 14,000 PVCs so the number will keep reducing.

‘’Now, by January 15 and 16, we will be taking the cards to all the 245 wards in Lagos State and from there to the local government areas, so this will bring the cards closer to the people for collection.”

Findings indicate that the FCT has 460,643 uncollected PVCs as of December 24.

A document obtained from INEC revealed that the Abuja Municipal Area Council had the highest number of uncollected PVCs in the FCT.

In Edo state, 661,783 voter cards have not been collected as of December 29 while

Ondo and Ekiti states had 300,000 and 205,127 cards, respectively, as of December 15.

INEC efforts

Rotimi Oyekanmi, INEC Chairman Spokesperson, said that the Commission was doing its best in sensitizing registered voters to collect their PVCs.

Oyekanmi said “We have consistently embarked on voter education awareness activities to encourage voters to collect their cards.

“Apart from advertorials and regular sharing of customized messages via our social media handles, each state office of the Commission also takes several slots in radio and television stations prominent in their respective domains to amplify voter education.

“We collaborate with religious leaders who pass voter education messages to their audiences in churches and mosques. We leverage on the authority of traditional rulers to reach out to their subjects in a way that nothing else can.

“We also take advantage of cultural events, like the Calabar Carnival, to reach out to voters. We go to major markets in many states on foot, using loud speakers to talk to the market women and leaders due to the influence that they also wield.

“We are grateful to our various development partners- the European Union, IFES, UNDP and others as well as the civil society organisations that are helping us to encourage voters to pick up their PVCs.”

Oyekanmi could not provide the total number of unclaimed PVCs nationwide, saying the figure PVCs kept reducing as eligible voters were collecting their cards daily.

‘’For instance, the figure of uncollected PVCs for Lagos as of 29th December 2022 will not be the same as of 31st December because more people would have collected their cards. The only time we can have the final figure of uncollected PVCs is when we stop the collection of the cards nationwide. The Commission will announce the total number of uncollected cards at that time,’’ he further explained.

Commenting, the Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Idayat Hassan, blamed what she called ‘last-minute syndrome’ for the poor of the PVCs, describing the situation as recurring decimal.

Hassan said, “It is a recurring decimal. With every election, people do not often go forward to collect their PVCs or they leave it till the last minute. You will notice that maybe when it is one week to the end of the collection process, then Nigerians will troop to go collect their PVCs.

“Secondly, some owners of these PVCs, especially the old ones might be dead, relocated or anti-democracy Nigerians. We are advising the media and the civil society organizations to encourage registered voters to pick up their PVCs.”

The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, attributed distance to collection centres and poor awareness for the high number of unclaimed voter cards.

Itodo observed, “The reason why people are not collecting their PVCs is because the PVC collection location is distant from the people. However, INEC will be decentralising the PVC collections at ward level from the 6-15 of January, 2023. We hope that people will make use of this opportunity because the ward level is closer to people.’’


Credit: The Punch


MOHBAD: Police Grill Sam Larry, Lagos CP To Address Press



The Lagos State Police Command has deepened its probe of Balogun Eletu popularly known as Sam Larry, over the ongoing investigation into circumstances leading to the death of late Singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba aka Mohbad.

Recall that Sam Larry was detained by the police on Thursday night after he honoured the police invitation, and has since been grilled by police investigators over his disagreements with the late musician.

It was gathered that the suspect who is currently detained at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters and was yet to hire the services of a lawyer over the incident as of Saturday, is very much likely to remain in police custody until next week Monday.

According to The Punch, a security source under anonymity also revealed that police officers arrested Sam Larry at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Thursday night following his arrival from Kenya.

“Sam Larry was arrested by policemen at the Murtala Muhammed airport last night (Thursday) after he arrived from Kenya, and he was immediately driven to the Lagos Command Headquarters in Ikeja for questioning,” the source noted.

Speaking with our correspondent in an exclusive interview, Friday night, the Lagos State Police Command Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin revealed that the outcome of the police investigation would determine the decision to be taken on Sam Larry.

The police spokesman further noted that he could not reveal details of the controversial socialite’s statement to the police, adding that the Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa will address the press about the development soon.

Hundeyin revealed, “Sam Larry is still with us. But I’m not talking about our plans yet because he’s still under investigation, hence the outcome of our investigation will determine the lifeline of our next move.

“I’m not disclosing the content of his statement yet; the Commissioner of Police will address the press over the development soon, and when the CP addresses the press, I’d be able to talk about our investigation so far.”

SP Benjamin Hundeyin, earlier Thursday, had revealed that Sam Larry was held in police custody, and was assisting with an ongoing investigation.

The police had earlier invited Sam Larry and singer, Azeez Fashola aka Naira Marley for questioning over Mohbad’s demise.

The police, last week, also confirmed that pathologists have concluded the autopsy conducted on Mohbad, while the police await the result.

“Autopsy has been concluded. Awaiting results”, Hundeyin confirmed.

This development followed the exhumation of Mohbad by a combined team of the Nigeria Police Force and health officials.

The police had also arrested the nurse who reportedly injected the deceased singer prior to his demise on Tuesday, September 12.

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President Tinubu Returns To Abuja One Week After UNGA



Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has returned to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, one week after he attended the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States.

The 78th UNGA session was held from September 18 to 26.

Tinubu, during one of the sessions, voiced concerns about foreign exploitation in Africa and rising insecurity, and asked other nations to offer solutions of mutual benefit. The UNGA session was his first as Nigeria’s president.

After delivering the national statement and holding several meetings on the sidelines of the global assembly, Tinubu also rang the closing bell at the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (NASDAQ).

Although there was no official statement, multiple reports said the president departed New York for Paris, France for a short vacation.

Tinubu’s return to Nigeria comes amid threats by labour unions to commence an indefinite strike from October 3, if he fails to address the rising cost of living.

The president’s arrival also comes a few days before Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary on October 1.

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Tension In Ogun As Tribunal Determines Abiodun, Adebutu’s Fate



There’s anxiety and tension in the premises of Isabo Magistrate Court, Abeokuta, the state capital as Ogun State Governorship Election Tribunal is set to deliver judgement in the petition filed by Hon. Ladi Adebutu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) challenging the election victory of Governor Dapo Abiodun.

After three month, long sitting and conclusion of hearing, the Ogun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal reserved  judgement for today in the petition filed by PDP’s Adebutu against Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Adebutu is praying the tribunal headed by Hamidu Kunaza to nullify Governor Abiodun’s victory and declare him winner of March 18 Governorship election in Ogun State.

Adebutu, among things, is also seeking an order of the Tribunal to upturn the election of Governor Abiodun, alleging that the election that brought him into office for the second time, was riddled with violence, irregularities and rigging.

In the final oral and written address through his counsel, Mr Chris Uche, SAN, Hon Ladi Adebutu who is not in the country at the moment, prayed the tribunal to grant all the reliefs, including the disqualification of Abiodun as a candidate in the March 18 election.

He also asked the tribunal to sack Abiodun and declare him as winner of the poll instead, declaring that heavens would not fall if the Governor was thrown out by the Tribunal.

He alleged non-compliance by INEC with the Electoral Act and corrupt practices by the governor and his All Progressives Congress(APC) during the election even as former lawmaker claimed the process was sabotaged by thugs who allegedly deployed violence in over 99 polling units to disenfranchise over 40,000 voters.

But countering in his written address through his counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), Governor Dapo Abiodun urged the Tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by Adebutu and his party against his victory.

Also, in their separate submissions counsels to the 1st respondent (INEC), Mr Remi Olatubora (SAN), and the APC, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), told the tribunal that the petitioners failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Counsel to INEC, Olatubora, specifically asked the tribunal to dismiss the petition for absolutely lacking in merit and being a waste of the tribunal’s precious time.

He posited that the allegations of corrupt practices, non-compliance, multiple thumb printing of ballot papers, ballot stuffing, and forgery as alleged by Adebutu and his party were not proved beyond any reasonable doubt.

He also described the testimony of the witnesses brought by the petitioners as heresy, which is not admissible in law.

Counsel for Abiodun, Chief Wole Olanipekun, (SAN) in his final address, described Adebutu’s petition as a mere academic exercise.

Olanipekun submitted that the soul of the petition was not duly signed or stamped and, therefore, lacked merit to be adopted.

He urged the Tribunal to strike it out.

“The document is not signed, not dated, no heading, no title, no identity, no signature, no stamp. The CTC has no signature,” Olanipekun alleged.

However, in his counter-argument, Counsel to Adebutu, Chris Uche, SAN, told the tribunal that all documents presented by the petitioners were obtained from INEC.

He urged the tribunal to declare Adebutu the winner of the governorship election or, in the alternative, order a rerun of the election in 99 polling units where he alleged that there were disruptions.

Counsel to APC, Tayo Oyetubo, who spoke to reporters at the time of trial, said the respondents have presented a good case, even as he expressed confidence that the verdict would be in their favour.

However, The Nation’s bid to access the Court was prevented by a security operative who stated the newspaper was not listed to cover the court matters today.

He also pulled a list, showing that the media organisation was not authorised to cover it.

It is not yet clear how the list was generated.

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