From. Sadiq abubakar Maiduguri
Ahead of the February 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC Borno State has commenced the distribution and issuance of Permanent Voters Cards PVCs to registered eligible voters from the 15 local government areas affected by the boko haram insurgency which had rendered the residents of the LGAs internally Displaced Persons IDPs now in various camps in Maiduguri metropolis.
The thousands of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the various camps in Maiduguri yesterday in large number were seen on long queues collecting their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) against the great fear and rumour that millions of people displaced from their communities in the 15 LGAs of Borno State by the Boko Haram terrorists will be disenfranchised or not allowed to vote by the Independent National
Electoral Commission INEC in the forthcoming general elections.
Our correspondent who monitored the INEC distribution of PVCs exercise in some parts of the Maiduguri metropolitan council and Jere local government council that formed the Maiduguri city including the IDPs camps observed that thousands of internally displaced persons and residents of many neighbourhoods of the state capital Maiduguri were seen on long queues collecting their PVCs
At some IDPs camps, GGSS Yerwa, Women Teachers College Maiduguri, Government Girls College Maiduguri, Mustapha Umar Arabic Teachers College Maiduguri and NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp Maiduguri, the internally displaced persons who spoke to our correspondent said “we are happy that today at last we are getting our PVCs despite the fact that we are yet to return to their homes. We thought that we will not even vote or disenfranchised”.
One of the internally displaced person from Gwoza who is on refuge at the Government Girls Secondary School, Yerwa, Malam Babayo Hamman said “I am happy to collect my PVC. This go a long way in giving me the opportunity to fully participate in the general elections to vote for candidates of my choice”.
?Although what is more important to us now is going back to our respective homes. However, we are happy that we will participate in the 2015 elections and even vote whoever we want as our leaders. But our hope is that whoever may finally emerge victorious, that we will vote for, he or she should change our condition of living by bringing this problem of insurgency to end,? Babayo said.
An internally displaced person from Bama town, Alhaji kallamu Ahmad, said that ” I actually decided to collect my PVC to participate in the forthcoming general elections to choose candidates of my choice that will change to us and the nation in general.
Commenting on the exercise, an ad-hoc staff of INEC in one of the IDPs camps, one Mohammed Abbas said the turnout of the people for the collect ion of the PVCs is very impressive as so far since morning 9 am when he stated then distribution, he had distributed more than 500 PVCs.
Alhaji Mohammed Ahmed of Gomari Poling Unit said ” we are very excited that at last borno people will be part of the electoral process and vote for their candidates of their choice. This is a prayer we have been for long saying against the speculation that borno, yobe and adamawa states may not participate in;the 2015 general elections due to the boko haram insurgency”.
Hajiya Ladi Mai Ko sai Bulunkutu II Poling Unit said “Alhamdu Lillahi. In saw my picture and ask the INEC officials and they trace my card and gave iit to me. I never thought that I will get it because I lose my temporary card since but they were able to given me my PVC. With this weapon I will come our and vote for my candidates of choice on the election properly”.
Meanwhile the Senator, representing Borno South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Engineer Mohammed Ali Ndume who monitored the exercise in some of the IDPs camps also told newsmen in Maiduguri he was overwhelmed by the large turnout of the people who came out emasse to collect their PVCs.
?I am impressed and touched that despite the boko haram insurgency, our people are ready to exercise their civic responsibilities by coming out to collect their PVCs. I hope that this boko haram insurgency will come to an end soon so that our people can go back home to exercise their franchise?, the senator who also collected his PVC in one of the camps said.
Ndume also commended the INEC for distributing the PVCs to the internally displaced people, adding that ” it is an indication that people will be allowed to vote irrespective of whether they are in their homes or not”.