Clamp down on PVC'c racketeers, please!
Since Mr. X heard through the grapevine that the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) issued to him by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is sellable, he has been obsessed with the unholy thought of selling it to desperate politicians that have do-or-die mentalities toward the much-awaited February 2015 general election. The foregoing view is a trite fact that is presently and widely communicated in hush tone by registered and card-carrying voters within low profile neighbouhoods across the country. The trite fact that PVC is sellable may be seen as unfounded by some doubting Thomases but that does not rule out the fact that INEC, as the umpire that is legally and constitutionally recognized to conduct the election, should fold their hands without rising up to the occasion to find out the degree of veracity of the fast circulating electoral information. Even if INEC officials decide to ignore this issue by waving it aside, the fact remains that it is an issue that need to be addressed.
This issue should be considered against the background of various news reports that have emanated from the media on this issue.For instance, it was widely reported by a section of the media that Buhari’s wife, Mrs. Aishatu Buhari has charged Nigerian women “not to succumb to pressure from any quarter to hand over their voter’s cards in exchange for monetary inducements.” See ThisDay Live online of Wednesday 4, February 2015. According to the report, Mrs. Buhari, who was represented at a sensitization workshop in Abuja by the coordinator of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Women Presidential Campaign Initiative, Hajia Salamatu Jibril, spoke on the importance of women participation in the next general election and also charged them to “guard their voter’s card jealously and ensure that they are not sold for any price, adding that their vote is the only weapon to chase away the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP).
Also read: Edo declares work-free days for PVC collection
Similarly, on December 19, 2014, the media was agog with the news that APC “has raised the alarm over the antics of a certain political party that has engaged in buying Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) with a view to disenfranchising the owners of such cards, especially in opposition strongholds.”
Still in the same vein, an online medium, Premium Times Nigeria, reported the same issue under the headline “Akwa Ibom APC accuses PDP of buying voter’s cards from poor voters.”
To me, the foregoing news reports are enough reasons to prod INEC officials into action to stem this undemocratic tide in the bud. In this context, clamping down on PVC racketeers should not be miscontrued to mean arresting and molesting poor voters that are ravaged by hunger. Rather, as soon as this piece get to the knowledge of senior INEC officials, they should put the public information and enlightenment campaign machineries into action without delay and ensure that all Nigerians of votable age are sensitized for them not to sell their PVCs.
It is expedient to say that the campaign should not be focused to city dwellers only but rural dwellers that are more vulnerable to the manipulations of desperate politicians. All PVC carrying Nigerians should be told that selling their PVCs could be likened to the case of Esau selling his birthrights to his twin brother, Jacob, as he was completely ignorant of his right of primogeniture. From this perspective, there is no denying the fact that those who have sold their PVCs or intend doing so are not wiser than Esau.
There is no denying the fact that any campaign at this time towards the expected general election is belated but the fact is that just One Week campaign can go a long in changing the mind of those that have remorse dispositions. They should be made to realize how powerful their votes would be in influencing the outcome of an election. They should be told that a margin of less than one vote in a poll result can make a huge difference in an election.
The point that need to be highly emphasized through the campaign that is advocated in this context should rely more on Broadcast, Online and Print media in other to let the people know that possession of PVCs without selling it for a pot of porridge would enable them to exercise their civic responsibility during the election.
It is not an exaggeration to metaphorically opine that many Nigerians of votable age are yet to appreciate the value that is inherent in their voter’s card just the same way Esau was unable to appreciate the value that was inherent in his porridge.
The reason on why action should be expedited on this critical electoral issue is that some mischievous politicians can exercise their financial muscle in buying off the PVCs of famished supporters of their opponents and thereby disenfranchised them from participating in the next general elections.
In my view, this unpalatable scenario would be very unfair and can further exacerbate the political playing ground that is literarily littered by muddy pot holes. There is no denying the fact that this would be seen as unfair and unjust by other contestants that may not have enough money to waste like their “super rich” opponent. This alone, may compel some contestants that have less money to spend during the election to resort to violence.
Be that as it may, I am using this medium to urge INEC to look into this issue without any delay.
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