The Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Barrister Mutiu Agboke has lamented that at least, 700,000 Permanent Voters Card (PVC) are yet to be collected by electorates in Oyo State.
Agboke, who made this statement during a courtesy call on the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Dr Lekan Balogun at his Alarere residence on Wednesday said non-collection of PVCs would automatically disenfranchise the electorates from exercising their voting right in 2023 general elections.
The Oyo REC, according to Tribune Online therefore, solicited the assistance of the monarch and relevant stakeholders in creating awareness of the need for the collection of PVCs among the residents of Oyo State, while he stated that number of the PVCs that are yet to be collected is enough to make somebody the state governor.
He noted that the total number of votes scored by the two governorship candidates that had the highest votes in the 2019 gubernatorial election was not up to 700,000 votes.
He said the purpose of the visit was to rejoice with Oba Balogun for ascending the throne of his forefathers and to solicit his assistance and cooperation as a respected voice in the community on the need for residents’ active participation in electoral activities.
Aside from the collection of PVCs by the residents as earlier noted, the REC also related with the monarch to help appeal to the various political parties to play the game according to the rules of engagement saying that, INEC is doing everything possible to ensure hitch-free elections, but we need the cooperation of the political parties by adhering to the rules put in place.
“When the law says no to vote-buying, it is not INEC that goes about with money at the polling centres, the political parties are the ones. We started preparations for the next elections immediately after the 2019 elections and the results of our preparations manifested in the successful conduct of elections in Edo, Kogi, Bayelsa and Anambra States.
“In addition, we had other bye-elections that were successfully conducted and we are out again to ensure that the 2023 elections are without hiccups of any form, but we can only achieve this with the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders which form part of our visit here, Kabiyesi,” the REC stated.
Barr. Agboke also told Oba Balogun that the Commission would on Monday next week, begin the fourth phase of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) which he asked the monarch to help appeal to the residents to take the advantage of by participating in the exercise.
Olubadan, in his response, assured the REC of the palace’s support for the commission’s programmes and urged for enough sensitization of the general populace, asking the commission to be conscious of the political awareness level of the residents.
The monarch equally appealed to both the politicians and the electorates to work towards making Nigeria great by following the political guidelines adding, “There’s nothing special about the so-called advanced societies that make them better than we blacks except that they do things rightly.
“Let’s fully participate in all the pre-electoral activities and vote peacefully during elections. Let us collaborate with ourselves since INEC is ready. As citizens too, should be ready. I appeal to all to let’s see to the greatness of this country by doing things rightly,” Olubadan added.