Usman Nasiru, Gombe
A video footage went viral on social media on the 7th of December 2022 showing INEC Staff at FESTAC Town, Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area Office, Lagos manually extracting Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) from Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and entering same into their phone in a bid to rig the 2033 General Elections.
In the video, two men narrated what they said was going on thus: “You can see INEC people, they are busy copying all the PVC numbers and putting them in their phones. This is PVCs that INEC said are not ready, that we should come on 12th and today is 6th. They are busy here putting numbers of all the PVCs in their phones. The other one is also busy doing the same thing. All of them said they are copying all the PVC numbers, everything. That is what they are doing in the office’.
Arising from the hue and cry generated from this video, INEC came forward with an explanation via a press release signed by Mr. Festus Okoye, Esq. According to Mr. Okoye of INEC, whatever the video tried to say was untrue.
This has shown the rate at which Nigerians have completely lost faith in the Commission and its ability to deliver a free and fair elections but this yet not far from the truth.
‘Actually, the video shows staff harvesting VINs from PVCs, but only as part of the inventory of uncollected cards, provided for in the new guidelines for the management and collection of PVCs, approved by the commission implemented nationwide. In its determination to enhance the rate of collection of PVCs, the Commission decided to establish a PVC collection process that includes an online component. The procedure entails that registered voters with access to the Internet could go to a dedicated portal to ascertain whether their PVCs are ready and to find their locations for subsequent collection’, Mr. Okoye said.
But most Nigerians are not convinced. The scenario that played out from the viral video indicates that there is more than Mr. Festus Okoye is saying. But without a doubt, let it be known that Nigerians will continue to remain vigilant and ensure due process is strictly adhered to in the upcoming 2023 General Elections.