By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has said it might be forced to burn the unclaimed permanent voter cards PVCs before the 2019 elections to prevent them from getting to the wrong hands.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ondo State, Dr. Rufus Akeju gave the disclosure at the NUJ Press Center in Akure while speaking with journalists in Ondo State.
Dr Akeju said burning the cards subject to the commission’s directive and ratification would prevent unscrupulous persons from using them to frustrate the 2019 elections.
He said the commission has made several efforts to reach out to the owners of the over 370, 000 unclaimed PVCs to no avail.
His words, “We might burn the unclaimed cards because we don’t wont them to get to the wrong hands and frustrate our efforts in the 2019 election.
“We are doing everything to find out if the owners are still alive and we have told you some of the possibilities that might have happened to the owners. Whether they are transit students, corps members or did double registration, collected one and ran away. It can be anything. It’s not just in the state but many other states.
“It is in an attempt to protect the integrity of the election that we are considering of we could do instead of letting the cards lie fallow.
“We may not even burn them, we can incinerate them or pour chemical on them, whatever way to make sure they don’t fall into the wrongs hands. But INEC is yet to decide what to do, until we have exhausted all our efforts.
Akeju however said the commission is stepping up continuous voters education with advocacy visits to stakeholders including traditional ruler to enlist their support for a successful 2019 election.
It would be recalled that Dr Akeju had already met with the traditional rulers in the state where he solicited for their support in achieving a credible election in the state.
During the meeting with the traditional rulers, Akeju said his doors was opened for complaints and reasonable criticisms and advice by the monarchs and leaders in the state to enable the commission succeed in its mission.
The REC appealed to the monarchs to urge its residents to approach the INEC offices nearer to them and collect their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) as they remains a major stakeholders that the commission sensitization on collection of PVCs could reach the grassroot level.
He also advised those who had attained 18 years to go to INEC office in local government areas close to them to register as this would enable them to perform their
He described PVC as very important document for every voter, adding that even banks had started requesting for PVCs before opening accounts for customers.
While speaking, the Chairman, Ondo NUJ Council, Mr. James Sowole therefore promised professional reportage for all activities of the commission as 2019 Presidential election draws nearer.