Presidential aspirant, All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was captured in a trending video, saying the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) at the disposal of Nigerians have expired.
Tinubu called on Nigerians to register afresh, telling his supporters to take the message far and near to ensure that Nigerians registered afresh.
Reacting to this development, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Chief Technical Adviser to the Chairman of INEC, said the PVCs had not expired and that there was no need for Nigerians who already had PVCs to register for new ones.
He emphasised that the PVCs were still valid, warning that it is a crime for Nigerians to engage in double registration.
“This information is not correct. The PVC issued to all previously registered voters remains valid.
“This kind of statement will certainly push eligible voters to register more than once thereby creating the problem of double and multiple registrations,” he told Daily Trust on Wednesday.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, also emphasised that Nigerians who already had PVCs did not need to register for new ones as they ones they had were still valid.
According Oyekan, double registration was an offence under the laws, saying that eligible Nigerians were entitled to register only once.
Meanwhile, In response to the backlash that followed the misleading information, Tinubu’s media team issued a statement saying the APC chieftain mistakenly used the word ‘expire’ instead of stating that PVCs may have to be updated.
The statement read, “On Tuesday night in Abuja, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu granted audience to a delegation of women from Lagos and across the country attending the All Progressives Congress Women Conference. While charging the women to check the status of their voting cards and mobilise supporters to vote, he mistakenly used the word ‘expire’ instead of stating that the cards may have to be updated.
“Immediately upon being apprised of this, Asiwaju apologised for the incorrect statement and felt sorry for any confusion it may have caused. Asiwaju Tinubu also stressed that he appreciates the patriotic and necessary work of INEC and its personnel in assuring a free and fair electoral process for all Nigerians in all political parties.
“At the meeting convened at the behest of the women, Asiwaju emphasised the need for people to fully participate in elections so we strengthen our democracy. He urged them to continue to mobilise voters to update their PVCs and help thwart the prevailing voter-apathy. Women must mobilise heavily to reverse the trend, he said.
“The gap between those who registered for elections and those who usually turned up to pick their PVCs was wide, adding that such constitutes a serious challenge, which may impede the growth of our democracy.
“Asiwaju Tinubu would like to reiterate this call to women to mobilise at the grassroots levels so that elections reflect the sovereign will of all the people for a true democracy to be established. He enjoins them to review their voting details with INEC so that these details will be updated before the coming elections.”