On Tuesday, Bola Tinubu, chieftain of the All Progressives Congress(APC), said the current permanent voter cards (PVCs) issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have expired.
Speaking while addressing women leaders of the party who paid him a visit in Abuja, Tinubu asked voters to obtain new PVCs.
Earlier in the month, after so much speculations, Tinubu formally announced his intention to contest for the 2023 presidency.
“In case they do not announce to you on time, the PVC you have has expired,” he said.
“Take one family member, two family members, knock on all doors and make sure that the new registration… Because they may not announce to you on time. The PVCs you have have expired. Yes!
“You need to spread it to various local government and wards at each levels. No matter how difficult it is. To me, I look at it closely and you look at other elections being held, you will see that it’s diminishing because those cards (is) expired. It’s mandatory that you go and register to vote and achieve your aspirations. May God bless you and bless Nigeria.”
The PVC is a smart card with an electronic readable microchip that stores each voter’s unique personal and biometric data.
It was introduced by INEC prior to the 2015 general election to enhance the credibility of electoral processes in the country.
How true is Tinubu’s claim?
Checks by TheCable showed that a PVC does not carry an expiry date.
In a message obtained from the INEC website, Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the commission, said registered voters could renew their PVCs in the Continuous Voter’s Registration(CVR) exercise if their cards were missing or defaced.
When contacted by TheCable, Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, said the PVC is valid as long as it is not defaced, adding that double registration is an offence under the law.
“A PVC does not have an expiry date on it, therefore, it does not expire. As long as the security chip on it is not damaged, it remains valid. But if the chip is damaged, the holder can apply for a replacement,” Oyekanmi said.
“Nigerians who already have their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) do not need to register again. In fact, double registration is an offence under our laws.
“Eligible Nigerians are entitled to register only once. Once a name appears in the national register of voters, it stays there permanently.
“One of the very few instances where a name could be removed from the register is if there is strong and verifiable proof that the person bearing the name has died.”
Tinubu’s claim that the current PVCs have expired is misleading.