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2023: Why Many South-East Voters May Be Disenfranchised Revealed

The South-East of Nigeria continues to be in a state of uncertainty as Nigerians get ready to choose new leaders in the upcoming general elections.

This is because some zone residents are unable to pick up their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) as a result of attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to news sources, the unidentified gunmen creating havoc in the Southeast frequently attacked INEC offices in the area, causing the loss of PVCs and other crucial paperwork.

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In the past four years, at least 50 attacks against INEC facilities have been reported across 15 States, according to data released by the commission two weeks ago.


The majority of the recent attacks have been in the Southeast, and the daredevil gunmen have vowed that no elections would be held there in 2023 as a result.

With eleven attacks, Imo State had the most nationwide, followed by Enugu with five, Ebonyi with four, Abia with four, and Anambra with two.

Twenty of the incidents were reportedly arson-related, 26 were vandalism-related, and four were allegedly both.

On Saturday, newsmen learned that many Southeast residents who had previously registered for the PVC were unable to pick up their cards.

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It was discovered that the PVCs damaged during the attacks had not been replaced, which could result in many voters in the area losing their voting rights in February and March.

A resident of Imo State who gave only his first name, Godwin I.K., to our correspondent claimed that all attempts to pick up his PVC from the INEC office in the state’s Oru West Local Government Area had failed.


“Despite the security situation in this place, we have been making efforts to collect our PVC to participate in the coming election, but we are yet to see cards.

“I don’t know whether our cards were also destroyed during the recent attack. INEC should do whatever they can to make sure we are not left behind in the coming elections”, he stated.

Speaking with Newsmen, the President General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem bemoaned that many people would lose their rights if the commission did not act swiftly to address the issue.


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He said, “There are challenges in some places where gunmen had launched attacks on the INEC offices; the commission has been unable to replace the cards destroyed during the attacks. Something urgent has to be done”.

He lamented that there has been low turnout in the collection of PVCs in many parts of the region over fear of attacks by the assailants.


He said, “People have been going out to collect their PVCs but lots of the people are not joining the exercise. I just hope that before the deadline elapses, those who are yet to collect would do so.

“There are so many PVCs in the INEC office yet to be collected by their owners and this is very worrisome. The turnout for the PVC collection in Southeast is not really encouraging”.


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