@csrf
Slip of payment at INEC

22.12.2022 Featured REPORTER’S DIARY: At Ado Odo/Ota INEC Office, PVC Collection Is Not Entirely Free

Published 22nd Dec, 2022

By Abimbola Abatta

I arrived INEC office in the Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area in Ogun State two hours before the officials started issuing the permanent voter cards.

Having gathered that voters would be there as early as possible, I wanted to feed my eyes. The INEC office had no sign post, but it shares a fence with a Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) office.

Although I got there at exactly 7.07 am on Thursday, I met nine people at the entrance of the INEC office, six of whom I later found out had come to get their PVCs just like me.

The other three were police officers manning the gate. Two were seated on white plastic chairs while one was on his feet.

The nine people outside INEC office around 7.00 am
The nine people outside INEC office around 7.00 am || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

REPORTER’s DIARY: N1,000 for Registration, N3,000 for ‘Validation’… How NIN Agents Are Milking Registrants in Lagos

I approached an elderly woman who sat on a makeshift seat (the stubble of a tree that had been cut down), a white earpiece plugged to her right ear and connected to her phone. The way she positioned her phone gave me a hint that she might be watching a movie.

“Good morning, ma,” I greeted in Yoruba.

“Good morning,” she responded.

“Please, I am here for my PVC. Is that why you are here as well?”

“Yes, but they will not attend to us until 9.00 am o.”

“Oh! Alright, ma. Thank you.”

At about 7.28 am, the growing population of voters had increased to 16, men and women with a passion for their dear country. As those who came grew in number, a man in a red T-shirt advised that we pick numbers so that the officials would attend to the early birds first.

The man in red writing down the numbers
The man in red writing down the numbers || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

I gave him a sheet of paper and a pen. He tore the paper into smaller pieces and numbered each. I got number seven, but this number would no longer be useful by the time the gate would be opened to us.

When it was 7:39 am, police officers left the office in their white van. One followed the van on his bike. The crowd had grown large now.

N200 FOR TRANSFER AND REGISTRATION SLIP

“We pass through stress to do everything in Nigeria. Why can’t we just have it easy? When are we going to rest from Nigeria’s endless struggles? To register is problematic. To get your PVC, another wahala. To even vote, you will experience a double dose of wahala,” a man said.

He had just come out of the smaller gate of the INEC office. Apparently, he had gone to make an inquiry from one of the officials.

Voters at the entrance of Ado Odo/Ota INEC office
Voters at the entrance of Ado Odo/Ota INEC office || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

“What happened?” Someone asked.

“If you don’t have a printout of your registration details, you will pay N200 to get it here,” the man responded.

“Ah!”

“If the details have faded and your number is not clear, you will still pay that amount to get a new slip.”

“What if you have it on your phone?”

“You won’t collect your PVC.”

“What if you made a transfer? Do you still need the slip?” I asked him.

“I don’t know o, because I did not ask about that,” said the man.

I obtained my first PVC in 2018 during my NYSC programme in Ebonyi State, and considering that my chances of going back there were slim, I thought it wise to transfer to a new location six months ago.

Since INEC approved my request for a transfer to Ogun State, I had assumed that all I needed to get the new card was the old one. Alas, I was wrong!

Amid the registration printout saga, people were already writing down their names according to their wards. I also wrote mine, but like the number seven I got earlier, it wouldn’t matter.

All this while, no official had formally addressed us. Those who went in for inquiries came out minutes later to confirm that some might have to pay N200 for a new slip.

Voters at the entrance of Ado Odo/Ota INEC office
Voters at the entrance of Ado Odo/Ota INEC office || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

An INEC official later came out to speak with us. He said the gate would soon be opened, but we must go to the different places assigned for each ward.

At exactly 8.52 am, the gate was opened and the crowd trooped in. Out of the fear of a stampede and being stepped upon, I allowed the crowd to thin out before entering the compound.

Before I moved to where I’d get my PVC, I turned to the INEC official who addressed us right before the gates were opened, “Excuse me, sir. I have a PVC before, but I did a transfer to Ogun State and I only have a slip on my phone. What do I do?”

“Tell that lady at that office, but you will pay N200.”

I went beside the window the man pointed at, where a woman asked for my full name after narrating my predicament. She also noted that I’d pay the sum of N200, and I agreed. She gave me a small slip.

“Wow! This costs N200?” I thought to myself.

The slip that cost me N200
The slip that cost me N200 || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

ANOTHER N200 FOR ID CARD HOLDER

Ilogbo, Atan, Ota 3, Sango and Ota 2 wards were sheltered under the same canopy. We sat on plastic chairs in rows of three according to our wards.

“Why did they allow us to stand outside when there are chairs inside?” I heard someone ask no one in particular.

The time was 9.12 am. I had thought they would start issuing the cards the moment we were seated. But the officials and PVCs were nowhere to be found.

READ ALSO: REPORTER’S DIARY: Inside Shomolu INEC Office Where Nigerians Are Defying the Odds to Get PVCs

“When they knew that they’d start by 9, why did they not arrange the items to make it easier? We waited outside for hours, and now we have to wait after getting inside,” Olufemi, one of the two men who sat beside me, lamented.

He also noted that in a saner clime, the PVCs would be mailed to our residential addresses. “We won’t have to waste time like this. Imagine someone like me that has something to do at work. It’s really unfair. This country is so fucked up. Why must we always make things difficult for ourselves like this? I have been here since morning. Instead of them to be quick, they are delaying us.”

The INEC official in charge of issuing PVCs for my ward was on seat at exactly 9.20 am.

A short video of people moving into the INEC office after the gate was opened || Abimbola Abatta/FIJ

He rejected the printout that was presented by two of those in the front row. According to the official, the slips they held did not contain vital information. So he directed them to the woman who earlier sold my printout to me.

Minutes later, I sat directly in front of the official. He asked for my slip, alongside the two other men beside me. One of them would then be asked to return on January 6 because his card was not ready yet. Olufemi and I were, however, lucky as the official asked us to stand beside him so he could register our names and phone numbers in an exercise book in front of him before giving us our PVCs.

While he held my PVC and was about to give me, he said I would pay N200 for a jacket to keep the card. He swiftly inserted the PVC inside the jacket as I was rummaging through my bag for the money. I reluctantly gave him two N100 notes and received my card.

Meanwhile, the population had multiplied when I stepped out of the premises at about 10.00 am.

The sea of faces at the Ado Odo/Ota INEC office revealed nothing about who they intend to vote for in 2023. However, one thing was sure – these are compatriots who have risen up to obey the call of their fatherland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Published 22nd Dec, 2022

By Abimbola Abatta

Advertisement

Our Stories

SCORECARD: $15b Bogus Foreign Investments in Tinubu’s 1st Year as President

Ecobank

Ecobank Takes N156,000 From Elderly Woman’s Account Without Consent

Air Peace, a Nigerian airline reported by UK Aviation to NCAA

Between Air Peace and Fidelity Bank, Journalist’s N153,400 Hangs for 7 Months

Chioma Okoli Suffers Miscarriage Amid Legal Battle With Erisco

Breaking news

BREAKING: Tinubu Signs National Anthem Bill Into Law

UltraCash

Ultracash Won’t Refund Kaduna Customer After Receiving N171,000 Loan Repayment Twice

Dayo Aiyetan, the publisher of the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and Nurudeen Akewushola, a reporter at the organisation.

ICIR Publisher, Reporter Released After Nine-Hour Detention

Dayo Aiyetan, the publisher of the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), and Nurudeen Akewushola, a reporter at the organisation.

ICIR Publisher, Reporter Unreachable Hours After Honouring Police Invitation

The Ipaja police station's gate

‘Bottled-Up Anger’: Why Okada Riders Attacked Lagos Police Station

Anthony Asekhauno, the accused lecturer of rape at UNIBEN

Harassment in First Year, Rape in Final Year: How Philosophy Lecturer Anthony Asekhauno Drove Ex-UNIBEN Student Into Depression

Advertisement