The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stepped up preparations for the 2015 general election with the planned distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in 10 states of the federation.
It has also ruled out the adoption of electronic voting for the 2015 general election.
Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Gabriel Ada, at a news conference yesterday in Uyo, listed the states that will get the PVCs under the first phase of the distribution scheme as Akwa Ibom, Taraba, Gombe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Benue, Kogi, Abia, Enugu and Bayelsa.
According to him, the distribution of the PVCs would commence from May 23 to 25, adding that the circulation of the PVCs would precede the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise which comes up from May28 to June 1.
“The decision to stagger the exercise was informed by lessons learnt by the commission from the recent PVC and CVR exercises in Ekiti and Osun States,”
Ada said in Akwa Ibom State, the distribution of the PVCs would be done at each polling unit in every local government area of the state.
According to him, a PVC provides adequate security features to reduce vulnerability to counterfeiting and shall be used for identification and authentication of voters during elections.
He explained that those eligible to collect the PVCs are registered voters who were given temporary voter cards during the exercise.
He warned that no one is authorised to hinder the distribution of the PVCs, stressing that the cards are not to be exchanged for money or handed over to unauthorised persons.
He added that at the end of the three-day exercise, the number of cards distributed would be publicly announced.
Ada called on traditional rulers, community leaders, political parties and women leaders to mobilise registered voters to collect their PVCs to enable them vote in the 2015 general election.
Meanwhile, INEC has said the use of electronic voting for the 2015 general election is not feasible at the moment until the National Assembly amends the relevant sections of the constitution.
Addressing the National Conference Committee on Political Party and Electoral Matters yesterday in Abuja, INEC Commissioner in charge of Operations, Nuhu Yakubu, said the commission would require about 750,000 ad hoc staff as against the 500, 000 deployed in 2011 elections, to conduct the next polls.
He said the increase in the number of ad hoc staff was due to the on-going constituency delineation exercise being carried out throughout the country.
Yakubu who represented the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, appealed to the delegates to persuade the National Assembly to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow the commission adopt electronic voting in 2015.
Earlier, the Co-chairman of the committee, Senator Ken Nnamani, had asked the INEC commissioner to explain how the commission would tackle the reoccurring problem of distribution of electoral materials and how to address shortcomings.
The committee had before the meeting with the INEC delegation received the report of its subcommittee, chaired by Chief Olusegun Osoba, which reviewed the provisions of sections 7, 197-204 and part 2 of the schedule 3 of the constitution that relates to state independent electoral commissions (SIECs) and local governments and made recommendations on how to improve the credibility of the SIECs.
Osoba said the subcommittee had accepted the existing provisions such as "that SIEC members should be appointed for a term of five years and that members should be appointed by governors subject to confirmation by the House of Assembly and removal with the approval of two-thirds majority of the state assembly."