…As UTME deadline may not be extended – JAMB***
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Friday, extended the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, from Friday February 8 to Monday February 11.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Friday in Abuja at a meeting with the states Resident Electoral Commissioners RECs to review the level of the commission’s preparedness for next Saturday’s polls.
Yakubu said the commission arrived at the decision to extend the deadline following appeals by Nigerians for a review of the collection process.
He said; “In the last couple of days, we have been inundated by calls from Nigerians to review the current process of collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards. In response, the Commission has taken the following decisions:
“The collection of PVCs scheduled to end today Friday 8th February 2019 is hereby extended nationwide to Monday 11th February 2019. This will include Saturday and Sunday. The collection of PVCs will now take place from 9am to 6pm daily.
“All State offices are hereby directed to review the procedure for the collection of PVCs and dedicate all the staff of the Local Government offices to the collection process. Staff is enjoined to be civil in attending to citizens and to escalate issues that they cannot immediately resolve to their superiors.”
He said the meeting with the RECs would “undertake a comprehensive review of our preparations. Overall, the Commission is ready for the elections. Nevertheless, we are ever ready to fine-tune processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better.
“The Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that we will continue to take every necessary step to ensure that no registered voter is disenfranchised on account of non-collection of PVCs. Similarly, the Commission is taking urgent steps to address complaints of unavailability of the PVCs of some registered voters before the end the deadline for the collection.
“We wish to reiterate that after the deadline of Monday 11th February 2019, all uncollected PVCs will be recalled and deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for safe-keeping until after the General Elections when the collection of cards and the continuous registration of voters will resume”, he declared.
In the meantime, chairman of the Governing Board, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Emmanuel Ndukwe, has said he does not foresee an extension of the registration for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) beyond the February 21 deadline.
Speaking while monitoring the ongoing registration of candidates in some Computer Based Test (CBT) Centres in Lagos, on Friday, Ndukwe urged candidates planning to take the 2019 UTME to do so now while there is no pressure at the centres.
“I don’t foresee an extension. We have to stick to the date we have given to the public. If we start thinking about extension, it doesn’t portray our seriousness. In some of the places we visited, they had many systems but few candidates. Let the candidates out there be mindful of the examination dates. I don’t foresee any extension of dates,” he said.
Ndukwe expressed satisfaction with what he saw at the Ha-Shem Academy centre, Iwaya, FCE Technical Akoka centre, and the Electronic Test Centre (eTC), Anthony, where he interacted with the centre managers and candidates.
“It is seamless and we are happy. What I have seen today has confirm that Prof. Oloyede and his technical team were very right to ban cyber cafes. I have interacted with the candidates; they are all happy and satisfied. I must express the satisfaction of the board. How it was last year is not how it is this year, and it will be better next year,” he said.
In all the centres, none was found charging more than the official fee of the examination, N3,500 in addition to N500 for the literature text, Sweet Sixteen, to be used for the examination, and N700 charged by the CBT centres for registration.
Ndukwe said any centre involved in sharp practices would be sanctioned, stressing that JAMB was right to have banned Ccber cafes because of the irregularities they engaged in.
“We praise President Muhammadu Buhari for reducing the cost of registration from N5,000 to N3,500 to cater for ordinary people in Nigeria. People should not find any avenue to surcharge the candidates,” he said.
On their part, the CBT centre managers said the registration process was better this year than previous years. At the time of the visit, the three centres had registered over 14,000 candidates.