The Independent National Election Commission said it had started distributing permanent voter cards in the Federal Capital Territory ahead of regional council elections scheduled for February 12.
Festus Okoye, national commissioner of INEC and chairman of the Voter Information and Education Committee, revealed it.
Okoye told Nigeria’s news agency in Abuja on Friday that the Commission had printed 39,208 new PVCs.
He said they would be distributed to registered voters who participated in the recently suspended continuous voter registration exercise in the territory.
He also told NAN that the distribution would cover those who requested transfers, replacement of lost or damaged PVCs, and updating of voter records.
Okoye said the card distribution started on Monday and will end on February 4, and urged registered voters to withdraw their cards to do so.
He said: “All those who have participated in the CVR in the FCT are encouraged to withdraw their PVCs in the six regional councils.
“We encourage those who have already registered and who have not collected their PVCs to take this opportunity and do so.
“Those who have transferred their registration from one regional council to another or from other states to the FCT are encouraged to contact the regional council offices of INEC to retrieve their cards.
“Those who have requested the replacement of lost or damaged PVCS and the updating of voter records should do the same. “
The National Commissioner recalled that 42,986 Nigerians have completed their registration with the CTF.
Okoye said that after diligent verification and data cleaning using the Commission’s automatic biometric identification system, 14,665 multiple filers were eliminated, leaving 28,321 valid registrants.
He said the Commission may not extend the deadline for collecting PVCs.
He said: “Those who have made the effort to register should go the extra mile in collecting their PVCs and exercising their democratic mandate.”
Okoye pointed out that the Commission does not print PVCs for those who made multiple registrations, as their previous registration was still valid.
He explained that they could vote at polling stations and registration areas of their existing registration.
He said: “The new registrations have been quarantined and the Commission will decide at a later date the fate of those who engaged in electoral malfeasance.”
FCT regional councils have 68 constituencies with six presidents and 62 councilors.
The elections for the post of president will be contested by 55 candidates (52 men and three women), while the elections for vice-president have 47 men and eight women sponsored by 14 political parties.
The 363 candidates running for councilor posts consist of 332 men and 31 women.
A total of 473 candidates and their running mate are vying for the 68 elective positions.