The Coalition for Peter Obi (CPO), which consists of 17 support groups for the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, has warned INEC against disenfranchising millions of Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The CPO also requested that the Electoral Commission extend the deadline for obtaining a Permanent Voters Card (PVC).
However, The 17 organizations have launched a large voter education drive to encourage Nigerians to register and collect their PVCs online and at INEC offices.
The Coalition currently has six zonal coordinators, 17 state coordinators representing each group in the 36 states, including the FCT, 17 LGA coordinators across the 774 LGAs, and 17 ward coordinators in each INEC ward across the country, and plans to deploy this structure to support H.E. Peter Obi’s candidacy in the upcoming elections.
According to the Coalition, reports from around the country also suggest that INEC is unable to register the millions of Nigerians, particularly youths.
However, Nigerians have complained that they spend hours waiting to be apprehended.
In a statement issued by its Chairman, Mr. Marcel Ngogbehei, the Coalition urged its members to engage in voter education, provide clear information on PVC registration, and help logistics for the distribution of millions of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) now held by INEC.
The Chairman outlined the many groups engaged in the Voters Sensitization Exercise and encouraged the general public to volunteer or contribute financially and logistically, emphasizing that this is a team effort.
Mr Ngogbehei bemoaned the slacker attitude of certain INEC workers in various states, but applauded the efforts of staff in a number of places, he went on to say.
“According to CPO, one INEC machine can only register one person every ten minutes, or 900 people every month.”
Therefore, a Local Government Area with 2 INEC machines can only register 1, 800 persons per month if operating at 100% capacity, but with the present capacity, INEC needs 4 years of continuous voters’ registration exercise to capture the millions of eligible Nigerians.
“INEC is hereby advised to expand its logistics operations, establish mobile registration centres, strategically move registration centres to highly populated areas like markets, partner with market leaders to encourage PVC collection, send text messages to voters on their PVC collections, allow people to book online for PVC collections and consider senior citizens in their 80s or 90s that have mobility challenges.
“INEC should also start now to consider their stakeholders and implement strategies that will provide better customer value, unless they intend to disenfranchise millions of Nigerians who are eager to exercise their civic rights in the general elections.
“The Electoral body should do everything possible to cater for thousands that are currently stranded trying to register in the various locations or in the alternative, expand its logistics and extend the deadline by six months.
“Nigerians must also be given the opportunity to freely express their civic rights at this critical time of our nation’s history.
“As a Coalition for Peter Obi’s presidential ambition, we have embarked on voter education, PVC registration and support logistics to distribute the PVC across the length and breadth of this country and calls on the public to support the various groups,” the group said.