Dark clouds continue to hover over the conduct of the elections as protesters on Wednesday for the second time blocked the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding for a shift in the dates of the polls by two months.
The protesters, who alleged marginalisation of the southern part of the country in the distribution of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) said that so far the distribution of PVCs has been skewed against the South in favour of the North.
For instance, the group, the Coalition of Civil Societies and Concerned Nigerians, said the northern states had received 73 per cent of PVCs, while the southern states had received only 46 per cent of PVCs distributed.
According to the Coalition of Civil Societies Group, the North-west zone has a total number of registered voters of 18 million and has received 14 million or 75 per cent of the distributed PVCs, leaving out 2.6m voters that were yet to collect their PVCs.
In the North-east, the group said that the zone has 10.4 million registered voters with 7.4 million PVCs distributed, and 2.9 million eligible voters yet to collect their PVCs; the North-central zone has total registered voters of 10.5 million with 5.5 million recorded to have collected their PVCs and five million said not to have collected theirs.
As for the South-west, the group said there is a total registered voters of 13.1 million, out of which 6.4 million or 48.7 per cent had received their PVC and 6.7 million yet to collect their PVCs, while in the South-south there is a registered voters of 8.9 million, out of which only 3.9 million or 44.1 percent and 4.9 million yet to collect their PVCs.
In the South-east, the group said there is 7.1 million with 3.1 million said to have collected their PVCS, while 4.1 million of the registered voters are yet to collect their PVCs. The group said it would remain one of the wonders of the world for INEC to distribute 24 million PVCs between Wednesday and Sunday, where the commission has eight months to distribute 38 million.
According to the Coordinator of the group, Amanda Chisom, the civil societies are demanding for a shift, which she said is in line with section 132 subsection 2 of the Electoral Act that said that election could be shifted within 90 days.
She said under the circumstances, that the election should be shifted to either March or April to enable the distribution of the PVCs to all eligible voters.
The leader of the group claimed that they were received by an official of INEC from the legal department who informed them that the commission would look into their petition in the next few days.