Law News
PVCs: SAN advocates public holiday to ease collection

Hon, in a statement on Thursday, warned that if the suggestion was not heeded, the ongoing debate on the shifting of the February polls anchored on poor level of collection of PVCs by registered voters could spark violence in the country.

The SAN, who said he was opposed to the call for the postponement of the February polls, asked state governors to take the lead by declaring public holidays for the purpose of PVC collection in their states.

He cited the provisions of section 2(2) of the Public Holidays Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as empowering state governments to declare such holiday.

He stated, “There is no single doubt that much disputation has been visited on the Nigerian political landscape, following the calls for and against shifting the February general elections. There is also no doubt that if not carefully managed, this debate and, a fortiori, any attempt to shift the said polls, may snowball into a political violence of unquantifiable proportions. May that day never come again in Nigeria!

“The dispute seems to be centered on the fact that many Nigerians have not collected their permanent voter cards. Suggestions that the Federal Government should declare some days as public holidays to enable registered voters who are yet to collect their cards to do so have so far not been heeded, even as time for the elections is fast approaching.

“One sure way out is for the various state governments to individually designate some days as public holidays for this all-important exercise to be carried out by Nigerians wishing to exercise their civic responsibilities.

“The power of state governments to designate some days as public holidays is derivable from section 2(2) of the Public Holidays Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which is to the following effect:

‘(2) Subject to section 1 of this Act, the governor of a state may by public notice appoint a special day to be kept as a public holiday in the state concerned or in any part thereof, and any day so appointed shall be kept as a public holiday.’”

Meanwhile, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Ogun State, Chief Timothy Ibitoye, has said that those who registered with the commission in the state and are yet to receive their PVCs will collect them before the February 14 election.

He said this in Abeokuta during the meeting with women groups in the state.

He also said those who had lost their Temporary Voter Cards would also collect their PVCs after they must have filled the attestation form.

He said, “Those whose names appeared on the displayed voter register but did not see their PVCs, the cards will soon arrive and will be distributed accordingly.

“All those who have lost their Temporary Voter Cards can equally pick their PVCs after filling the attestation form.”

He said the commission was leaving nothing to chance in its planning and noted that the sensitisation programme for women was organised because of their numerical strength.

Ibitoye, who was represented by the administrative secretary of the commission, Mr. Dickson Atiba, said the women’s active participation in the electoral process would make a lot of difference for Nigeria .

“One could rightly conclude that the era of rigging and corruption-ridden elections are over in Nigeria,” he said.

The head, Gender Desk Office of the commission, Mrs. Adeola Osikomaiya, advised women to move beyond the level of clapping and dancing at political rallies and take active part in politics by vying for elective positions.

Osikomaiya said, “As women, we need to move beyond clapping and dancing at political rallies, and come out to contest.

“It is important to note that despite the large population of women in Nigeria, their participation in politics and decision-making has been sad. In 2007 general elections, we have only seven per cent of the elective positions occupied by women, while in 2011 it was eight per cent.”

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