The Independent National Electoral Commission has expressed concern over the collection of Permanent Voter Cards in Akwa Ibom State, saying that the exercise was slow.

The INEC National Commissioner, May Mbu, raised the concern on Tuesday in Uyo during the INEC-Akwa Ibom Stakeholders Forum in preparation towards the 2023 general elections.

She, therefore, appealed to all the stakeholders especially political parties to assist in spreading the information about the PVC collection exercise far and wide.

Mbu said, “I am indeed, very delighted today to meet for the first time with our stakeholders in Akwa Ibom State. This is a very auspicious time considering the proximity of 2023 general elections.

“The statutory notice of the election has been duly given and activities have begun in full force. The Commission though is not happy with the burning of some of our Local Government offices in some states, since the Commission published the notice of elections on 28 February 2022, the activities have commenced in full force.

“Already, we are at the most critical stage in the implemention of the activities in the timeline, timetable and schedule of activities for the general elections.

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“One major reason for this occasion is to use this opportunity to tell stakeholders, traditional rulers, security personnel, politicians, intended voters and indeed, everyone in Akwa Ibom State that the pace of collection of PVCs in Akwa Ibom is abysmally slow.

“We want stakeholders to take up the mantle of spreading the information far and wide. Everyone must go to collect their PVCs. The Commission is working round the clock to make sure that these PVCs get to every registrants so that, no one should be disenfranchised.

“I’m made to understand that steps have been taken to ensure that there is reasonable security across our offices in this state and I thank the various security agencies in the state. However, please do not relent in re-enforcing the security around our personnel, state and local government offices.”

She noted that the Commission on its part was making steady progress in other critical areas in preparation for the elections including the provision of sensitive and none sensitive materials, the recruitment of adhoc staff, and the planning for the movement of personnel and materials for the election.

In his remarks, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Cyril Omorogbe, noted that the forum became important as it afforded the Stakeholders the opportunity to exchange ideas on how to achieve a free, fair, and credible election in 2023.

He, however, assured the people that the Commission would make sure nobody was disenfranchised as far as the collection of PVCs was concerned.