Rita Lori-Ogbebor Urges FG To Extend INEC Voters Registration Exercise 

Rita Enemuru, Reporting

The Igba of Warri Kingdom, Chief (Mrs) Rita Lori-Ogbebor, has urged the Federal Government to extend the ongoing Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) voters registration exercise to enable eligible Nigerians have their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Lori-Ogbebor made the call on Wednesday while addressing newsmen shortly after her on-the-spot-assessment visit to the INEC office in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta.

The activist said that there was need for the government to extend the exercise to enable the eligible Nigerians to be fully captured and have their PVCs ahead of the general elections.

The Igba of Warri Kingdom said that the PVC was the only power the people, particularly the poor in the society, had to elect their leaders, stressing that they must be given the opportunity to exercise their rights.

“You saw the crowd today, it showed that everybody wants to get registered and if everybody must be registered, then government must extend the time.

“Government should extend the exercise until we do not see the kind of crowd we saw today at the INEC office.

“Secondly, there are no sufficient machines for capturing in the INEC office in Warri South, the office only has four machines, two in the field and two in the office which is not enough.

“So, government need to provide more capturing machines and employed more personnel to assist and enable us finish the exercise properly,” she said.

Speaking on her visit to the INEC office in Warri, the erstwhile broadcast journalist said that she had been receiving calls from Warri residents that they had not been able to register or collect their PVCs.

Being inundated with barrage of calls from her people of finding it difficult to register, she said she had to travel all the way from Abuja to Warri to ensure her people are attended to.

“I have no other country than Nigeria, whether good or bad, I will continue to give my best. So, I have devoted this week to ensure everybody in Warri is registered.

“When we arrived INEC office, the whole place was crowded. The Electoral Officer (EO) explained reasons for the large crowd, we brainstormed and did some rearrangement.

“Among them are those who have lost their PVCs, some have not registered, some are for transfer of locations while some wanted to play pranks.

“We placed them in their respective lines and the arrangement was able to help the situation,” she said.

Earlier, Mr Kingsley Ogboe, the Electoral Officer (EO) in Warri South, intimated the Igba of Warri Kingdom that a lot of the people waiting outside had their PVCs, but wanted to do double registration while some were misinformed that their PVCs had expired.

Ogboe said that there were more than 20,000 voters cards in his office that had not been collected by their owners.

He added that those coming for capturing were always advised to exercise patience because the office had limited machines to work with.

“We always tell them that it is against the law to do double registration and when they are caught, they will be prosecuted.

“We started this exercise since June 2021, why is it now that we have about two weeks for the registration to close that they are rushing to get theirs,” he said.

The electoral officer said that they usually devoted four days to each Ward in their field work to capture people, adding that they also enlighten them that PVCs do not expire.

It will be recalled that a Federal High Court in Abuja had, on Monday, stopped INEC from ending the voters registration exercise on June 30 as earlier scheduled.

The court order was sequel to a lawsuit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 185 concerned Nigerians to enable eligible Nigerians registered and exercise their franchise.

However, INEC EO in Warri, Mr Ogboe, while responding to the judgement, said they were still awaiting directive from Abuja.

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