December 3, 2022

The Big Tent of the 3rd Force Movement has said it is worrisome and appalling that barely three months to the general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has yet to issue Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to eligible voters across the country.

The group in a statement issued on Wednesday, signed by its Convener, Dr Austin Kemie, explained that INEC had told Nigerians that the issuance of the PVCs would commence in October. It noted that regrettably, the commission had to commence the distribution of PVCs.

Kemie stated that the Big Tent of the 3rd Force Movement in collaboration with all Obi-dient support groups is embarking on an advocacy walk to INEC offices nationwide to sensitise and support citizens on PVCs collection.

The statement is titled: “Pat Utomi, other leaders of conscience of The 3rd Force Movement lead advocacy walks and visits nationwide INEC offices for the collection of PVCs.”

According to the statement, the advocacy walk is scheduled for Thursday, November 17, 2022 across the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He added, that Prof Pat Utomi, Chairman of the Big Tent and other leaders of the Third Force Movement will be leading a coalition of political parties and various support groups for the advocacy walk to INEC offices.

It said, “Thus, any attempt to dilly-dally in the issuance of their PVCs would amount to the denial of citizens of their constitutional rights to participate and vote in the 2023 elections.

“Given the delicate nature of the 2023 general elections, it demands that Nigerians are afforded the rights to PVCs. But the continued cases of delay, back and forth of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) calls for great concern and worries over the sanctity of the ballot and our democracy.

“At the end of the recent Continued Voters Registration (CVR), INEC categorically came out with figures of the newly registered voters, where the commission put the figures at 93.5 million; of which the youths constituted 76% of about 7.2 million registered voters

“The above figures of registered voters are indicative of the critical nature of the 2023 general elections and the attendant participation expected in the forthcoming polls. It is therefore worrisome and appalling that three months before the general elections, INEC is yet to issue the PVCs to eligible voters

“At the initial stage, INEC had explained that the issuance of the PVCs will commence in October 2022 but it is really shocking that right in the middle of November 2022, INEC is yet to issue a single PVC to the newly registered voters.”

“We believe that this sends a wrong signal to the democratic process, specifically, the 2023 general elections. Some have even alluded to the fact that the delay in the issuance of PVCs by the electoral umpire smacks of subterfuge or a subliminal strategy to manipulate the 2023 general elections.

“Over the years, there has been a public outcry about the lack of participation by Nigerian youths, the recent high population of registered voters among the youths was a remarkable feat in our democratic journey.

“Thus, it is disingenuous to deploy any manipulative tactics to delay or prevent the youths from participating the in the 2023 general elections by denying new voters the issuance of PVCs in good time and setting a dangerous precedent,” the statement added, IsL source, SaharaReporters

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