Residents of Benin in Edo on Monday thronged the different offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) ahead of the 2023 general elections.
INEC had earlier announced Monday to Jan. 22, 2023 as dates for the collection of the cards nationwide.
The exercise in Benin began in the early hours of Monday and witnessed massive turnout.
The exercise was characterised by complaints of slow process and unavailability of some Voters’ cards.
A visit to INEC office in Oredo, Egor and Ikpoba-Okha local government areas, showed that while some residents, whose cards were not available, were asked to check back in January 2023, others who collected were beaming with smiles.
Mrs Virginia Nwajorgu, a trader, who came to collect her PVC at Egor Local Government Office, was in tears after she was told by an INEC official that her voter’s card was not yet available.
Also, master Favour Osaretin, a 24-year old UNIBEN undergraduate, said: “We have been here since morning and they told us the card is not available but my name is on the system.
” I even checked INEC website by myself and my name is there, but my card is not available. They asked us to drop our names and phone numbers that when the card is ready they will call us.” he said.
Similarly, Smart Ehiorobo, a middle-aged man, lamented the PVC collection process, adding that inadequate INEC personnel was making the process very slow.
“I was outside for hours and when I finally got inside, they checked the system and saw my name but to my greatest surprise, I was told to come back in January 2023, that my card is not available.”
Kenneth Omokhafe, another prospective voter, said: ” We actually thought you will just come here, pick up your voter’s card and go home.
“But there is a lot of confusion right now because INEC is understaffed and with what I’m seeing, they are not ready for this exercise.
“My expectation was that you come here, stand according to your ward to collect your PVC but the reverse has been the case.
“People have been here since morning and any moment from now, they will tell us they have closed. It will get to a stage, people will become tired of the exercise and abandon their PVCs,” he said.
But for Eghosa Ebohon, Mrs Rosemary Osifo and some others, the process was seamless as they were able to collect their PVCs within 20 to 30 minutes.
Reacting to the development, the Head, Voter Education Department of INEC, Edo office, Mr Timidi Wariowei, told NAN that the commission was yet to receive reports of the exercise from the various locations.
” We have not received reports yet. The exercise just started today, if it is established that some cards are not available, we will communicate to Abuja,” he said.
He, however, expressed the belief that the situation was not peculiar to Edo State.
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