Nearly one million permanent voter cards belonging to Lagos State residents have been abandoned across offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.
Olusegun Agbaje, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos, disclosed this at a CSO engagement titled “Women’s Political Participation and Inclusion and 2023 General Elections”.
The event which was held on Wednesday in Lagos was jointly organized by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), the EU-Support Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN), and INEC.
Agbaje, while decrying the huge number of abandoned PVCs in Lagos, said old uncollected voter cards were 928,362 while new ones stood at 21,352 as of September 5, 2022.
“Permanent Voter Card (PVC) is the sole instrument required from the Voter to participate in an election, it is an important eligibility instrument for voting without which no citizen would be allowed to partake in an election.
“However, the total number of uncollected old PVCs in the state is 928,362 as of 5th Sept. 5, no doubt, the uncollected PVCs for women may be in the neighborhood of 436,451 (47 percent).
“Meanwhile, the total number of uncollected New PVCs is 21,352 out of 34,242 received PVCs, while the rest of the new PVCs for the 2021/22 registration exercise is being awaited.
“The implication of this is that the commission is having a staggering number of PVCs that should be collected by the women and other eligible voters to enable them massively participate in the forthcoming 2033 general elections,” Agbaje said.
He urged stakeholders such as the Nigerian Women Trust Fund under the Gender Election Watch (GEW) to help ensure the PVCs are collected before the 2023 elections.
Agbaje expressed worry over the low number of women flag-bearers in the forthcoming general elections.
“We have fewer women than men going for elective positions (in 2023). It is not too good, we have to continue to improve through this kind of engagement so that in future elections, we will have more women coming out for elective positions,” he added.
Agbaje added that the just-concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) captured 12,298,944 out of which a total of 6,224,866 were female while male registrants were 6,074,078.