For those with their original Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), it is now another means of making money in some states of the federation. The latest mode of making some cool cash with your Voter's card, is to lease it out to some certain individuals and then get it back after some details on it has been extracted. The price per card is just N20,000.
This is happening barely six weeks to the general elections in the country. Presidential and National Assembly elections are slated for February 14, while Governorship and state assemblies elections are to hold on February 28. The aforementioned cards businesses are taking place in the following states: some parts of the North, such as Adamawa, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Kebbi, Bauchi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Gombe states.
In Ondo State too, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has alleged that PVCs are being bought by the Governor Olusegun Mimiko-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The local PDP is split, with old members of the party refusing to work with Mimiko, who defected from Labour Party (LP), despite huge reconciliation efforts.
There was suspicion last night that the desperate politicians might have been tampering with chips on such cards.
Some Information Technology (IT) experts said technological manipulation of such cards might lead to their demobilization which would make the use of card reader machines by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) difficult.
A source, who pleaded not to be named said: "Kindly help us cry out; there is purchase of voter cards in the north for some sinister motives by some politicians.
"The practice is to collect these cards at N20, 000 each and after two or three days, they will return them. Being illiterate or semi-literate voters, these innocent eligible voters give out their cards for money. Nobody knows what they had done to the cards.
"I think it may be part of anticipatory rigging plan since some politicians and government officials are opposed to the use of PVCs.
"We also learnt that these politicians copy out the VIN number and other information on the voter cards."
A top politician in Adamawa state spoke of "an ongoing mass collection of voter cards," stressing that some people part with their cards for between N15, 000 and N20, 000.
In a statement in Akure, Ondo State APC Publicity Secretary,Abayomi Adesanya, urged INEC and the police to probe what he described as the unlawful procurement of PVCs.
The statement said: "We are quite disturbed about the report that the Mimiko-led faction of the PDP in Ondo State has embarked on unlawful purchase and mass procurement of Permanent Voter Cards in a clear attempt to manipulate the 2015 general elections in the state.
"Apparently, this illegal act is done in bad faith and the evil plan was informed by the desperation of some unscrupulous politicians to shore up the dwindling popularity of Dr Mimiko in Ondo State.
"We have it on good authority that the co-coordinator (one medical doctor) of this 'operation buy PVCs', resides in Akure and the illegal act, which started in Akure, has been spreading to other parts of the state.
"Deserving emphasis is the fact that the procurement scheme of PVCs for 10,000 each has been quite successful because the government in power has unrepentantly implemented retrogressive policies that promote poverty and unemployment.
"It is a sorry tale of reaping from State-induced unemployment and poverty."
The party wondered why the PDP embarked on such "shameful act of fraudulently masterminding the foundation of rigging" when Nigerians, and indeed the good people of Ondo State, are clamoring for free, fair and credible elections to elect their representatives and leaders.
The statement added: "They should tell the world for what purpose(s) these PDP agents are amassing PVCs. We expect INEC to give decisive actions, appropriate sanctions, so as to prove that it is still in charge of the electoral process in Ondo State. The credibility of INEC itself is at stake.
"As it stands, we hereby register our concerns and fears about credible elections in Ondo State.
"We appeal to the good people of Ondo State to reject any temptation to sell their PVCs for N10,000 each. The PVC itself is worth more than N100million each because it symbolizes personal access to electricity, good road, employment, wealth creation, security and other dividends of democracy. So, trading with their PVCs amounts to destroying tomorrow and mortgaging the future of their children."
But INEC has dismissed the purchase of PVCs as useless because, according to the agency, it cannot assist anybody to manipulate the elections.