Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to extend the deadline for the collection of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, so that all those who registered to vote could obtain their cards,
The Governor made the appeal on Wednesday when he visited the new Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Benue state, Prof. Sam Egwu at the INEC headquarters in Makurdi.
He also warned the Commission against postponing the elections on the grounds of insecurity.
He further appealled to Benue people and all the political parties to shun violence, noting that “violence will not make anyone win any election.”
Ortom said “our prayer is that whatever happens, let us go ahead and conduct the elections because Nigerians and Benue State people are eagerly waiting for it. Let us not create a situation where enemies of this country will take advantage, the elections must be conducted.
“In my own little way of suggesting and helping INEC and of course the Federal Government, if there are specific areas where insecurity is intense and there are problems, they should work towards shifting the elections not postponing the elections and when the other places are completed, they can go back and complete it and announce results.
“I understand the leg of collecting Permanent Voters Card, PVCs at the ward level is terminating on Sunday and then the other ones at the Local Government. I want to appeal if it is possible, because this one is not about politics, it is not about partisanship, it is not about political parties, it is about everybody, but looking at what the result is for today, I want to appeal if that can be extended for one week.
“If it is possible, the Benue State Government will appreciate it so that everybody will have the right to collect his or her PVC. If it can be extended, that will be fine, but if not, we can still manage with the directive of INEC.”
On Prof Egwu’s appointment he added, “all that we seek and desire from you is to ensure the rules of your engagement, ensure fair play, ensure equity, ensure justice, ensure fairness for all. Don’t do anything to sympathize or to favour me or any other political party.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Benue State and our party, the PDP, I want to welcome you and to wish you the very best and to assure you that for us, we are not going to do anything that will create challenges for you but to cooperate, for we know that power belongs to God.”
Responding, Prof. Egwu assured Governor Ortom that his request for the extension would be forwarded to the Chairman of the Commission, stressing that it is also in the best interest of the Commission to give out all the PVCs.
The collection of PVC at the ward level would end on Sunday, the process would continue at the Local Government level till a few days to the elections, he said.
The new REC praised Ortom for ensuring a level playing field for all political parties in the state, pointing out that he had not heard any single complaint from the opposition.
Prof Egwu also promised that Internally Displaced Persons across the state, who have PVCs will participate in the elections.