The Governorship Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is deliberately refusing to release Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to eligible voters across the state.
The accusation is coming on the heels of the revelation on Monday by the Osun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Professor AbdulGaniy Olayinka Raji that there are more than 600,000 unclaimed PVCs yet to be collected in Osun State.
Making the allegation against INEC in Osogbo, on Thursday, Diran Odeyemi, the Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the Senator Ademola Adeleke Campaign Council lamented the alleged hoarding of PVCs by INEC officials across the local governments, questioned the motivation for such reprehensible act at a time thousands of voters are ready and eager to collect their voter cards.
Odeyemi who revealed that the organisation has verified reports that INEC officials were working in league with APC to deny PDP loyalists of their voters cards, added that checks showed that the commission is working with a list of voters provided by the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) while those not on the prepared list are rebuffed for no justifiable reason.
In his words, “At a time the national headquarters of the electoral commission (INEC) is advocating for PVC collection, some INEC officials in Osun State have become tools for political partisanship, working and acting like a department of the ruling party.
“The odious act of bias within the state INEC has also extended to shameful open extortion of voters. They demand monetary settlement before performing their statutory responsibilities.
“We warn INEC and call the attention of security agencies and civil societies to act in ways to douse the increasing tension in our local communities. Anger and discontent are building up across the local governments. Our people are warming up to resist any evil attempt to deny them their constitutional right to elect their preferred Governor on July 16th.
“The campaign council notes that report of selective release of PVCs is unacceptable and any plot to disenfranchise prospective voters ahead of the July 16th governorship election will not sit well with Osun state voters and citizens. We warn INEC to take immediate corrective measures to avoid an explosion from the current build-up of tension across the state.
“Our party is a peaceful organisation that believes in one man one vote. We premise the expected victory of our candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke on the will of the Osun people, not on any rigging, scheming or violent machinations. We call on Nigerians to hold INEC and APC responsible for any breakdown of law and order in view of the current disenfranchisement agenda,” the statement warned.
Reacting, INEC stated that it does not concern itself with information obtained from social media circles as it remained an unbiased umpire.
It also stated that since it operates an open-door policy, any organisation, political party or group with issues should contact the commission since they are available to tackle such issues.
a statement signed by the Osun INEC REC, Professor Abdulganiy Olayinka Raji said, “It has come to the notice of the commission that a political group is accusing INEC of hoarding PVCs, we want to unequivocally state that the electoral body will not be dragged into unnecessary bickering and will not join issues with politicians who are bent on circumventing the system.
“INEC has called on eligible voters to go to its offices across the local government areas to collect their PVCs and are already attending to them where there are specific issues it should be formally reported to the office of the resident electoral commissioner for necessary action.
“INEC remains committed to the conduct of a free, fair and acceptable election and will not in any way jeopardize the right of Nigerians to freely vote during the election and as such will not disenfranchise anyone.”