Women in Ebonyi State have appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission to allow them collect the Permanent Voter Cards of their children and husbands who reside away from home as a means of reducing the preponderance of uncollected PVCs across the State.
The women made the appeal on Saturday at Amasiri, Afikpo North Local Government Area during the Ebonyi South Senatorial District Town Hall meeting/Voter Education outreaches for Marginalized groups and other electorates.
The meeting was organised by the Development and Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation in collaboration with INEC under the Civil Society Situation Room and supported by the united Kingdom Department for International Development.
The Women’s spokesperson, Elizabeth Kalu, who is also the Woman Leader of Amaigbo-Edda community in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the State, in an interview with journalists, explained that all their sons, daughters and husbands who came home to register during the voter registration exercise had left for their respective businesses away from home before the commencement of the issuance of the PVC.
Most of them, according to her, were not disposed to come home for their PVCs owing to distance and other exigencies of work though they had plans to return home to vote during the elections
Kalu maintained that if such persons were deprived their PVCs, it amounted to disenfranchising them in the election and appealed that their relations be allowed to collect on their behalf after satisfactory identification and evidences were established.
The Woman Leader, who further maintained that women have more integrity than their male counterparts in the discharge of their electoral responsibilities, alleged that the men compromise more easily than women in terms of bribery, vote trading and other electoral misconducts,
She noted that the women population has remained an asset during elections and asked that the women, especially the old, weak and disabled, should properly be assisted to vote by providing them with means of transportation.
The representative of the INEC Commissioner, Prof. Goodwill Obioma, and a Senior Legal Officer with the Commission, Ibrahim Obiahu, who spoke on electoral offences, urged participants to vote in line with the electoral guidelines.
Obiahu noted that the innovations brought into the 2019 elections by INEC would encourage early voting and convenience and urged participants to transmit the knowledge gotten from the workshop further to the grassroots in order to encourage tension free elections.
The INEC Electoral Officers for Afikpo North, Afikpo South, Onicha and Ivo local government areas, Sunday Johnson, Samuel Onele, Hajiya Saydatu Ajah and Paul Daniel respectively, assured that they were fully prepared for the conduct of the election in their various areas of jurisdiction with training of ad-hoc personnel in progress.
They confirmed that some non sensitive materials had been delivered to them, while they have continued to build synergy with community leaders in sensitising the public.
Decrying the challenge imposed by uncollected PVCs, Johnson revealed that out of 102,381 PVCs drafted to the Council area, 97,091 have been collected, while 15,290 remained uncollected.
The EO for Ivo on his part reported the collection of 9,278 PVCs out of the delivered total of 20,515, which accumulated from 2015 to 2018, leaving a balance of 11,235.
These included transfers and other PVCs arising from incidences.
Out of 79,821 in Afikpo South, Onele said 30,821 had been collected, while in Onicha as reported by the Electoral Officer, over 14,000 PVCs remained uncollected.
Hajiya Ajah further advised parents to caution their children and wards against involvement in electoral violence and thuggery and enjoined the electorate to vote with respect to their consciences, avoiding all forms of electoral fraud and corruption.
The Executive Director, DIG Foundation, Oliver Aja Chima, setting the tone for the workshop, noted that the programme was targeted at preparing the ground through sensitization of stakeholders for a tension-free and all inclusive 2019 election.
Chima appreciated INEC for their partnership which has helped them in delivering their mission to the target audience.
Participants for the workshop were drawn from the five local government areas making up Ebonyi South Senatorial District, including women and youth organisations, Non-Governmental Organizations, People Living With Disabilities, community leaders and representatives of media organizations.