In case you missed it, February 5, 2023 was the “final” deadline for collecting permanent voters cards (PVC) ahead of the general election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) twice extended this deadline from January 22 to January 29 and, most recently, February 5.
It’s unclear if there might be another extension. So far, INEC has been silent on whether there’d be another extension, but word on the street is not many Nigerians are thrilled about this.
[Crowd at a PVC collection centre in Abia state. The Sun]
Citizen spoke to a couple of young Nigerians asking why they hadn’t gotten their PVCs, and we got some interesting responses ranging from apathy to frustration with the process.
[PVC collection survey summary. SBM Intelligence]
Here’s what they said.
“I don’t have a personal voter’s card and did not register for one during the registration period. I suffer from an intense form of voter’s apathy, unconcerned about the electoral process and its likely outcomes. Perhaps, I hold a pessimistic attitude towards Nigerian elections, but I have no faith in the system to provide the leadership that Nigeria requires.
“I find all the candidates who are currently forerunners to be largely underwhelming. There’s the APC candidate with his failing health, there’s the PDP candidate clueless and capitalising on the goodwill from past positions held, and there’s the Labour Party’s candidate whose claim to fame is his appeal to millennial and Gen Z voters.
“If these are my options, I’d rather sit the elections out. Whatever the results — and it is one of the hardest to call in the history of elections in Nigeria —, we will live with the consequences. Above all, I pray for a peaceful transition of power. We deserve to catch a break.”
“When the announcement first came out for PVC registration, I registered on my browser. I even asked around about how to go about it and in the beginning I was dedicated towards getting my PVC. I was in Akure when I started my registration.
“Unfortunately I wasn’t sure where I’d be during the election period, I had relocated to Lagos and had to think about the process involved with transferring my PVC or even registering again at another local government. I settled for Kosofe local government at the time. I took time off work to go there to register.
“The INEC officials had given me an exact date to come around and I thought it would be better organised because I had an appointment. But when I got there, I saw a crowd of people. I was like, ‘no way.’ The last time I did this was during NYSC and I’m not subjecting myself to this hassle without knowing anybody at INEC. That was basically what discouraged me. I don’t think I waited more than 30 minutes before I went back home.
“Now though, I kinda regret it. I feel bad and maybe I should’ve waited for a few hours to get my PVC.”
“God knows I tried. I couldn’t get my PVC because it wasn’t found physically at the INEC office even though it reflected on INEC’s portal that it was available. Between November and February I went to their office in Oshodi ten times. Of course I feel bad I couldn’t get my PVC but I know I tried my best so my conscience is clean.”
“After I finished my online registration I was supposed to go to the local government office on a given day. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go and I just lost track of the whole thing. The process seemed too complicated and wasn’t easy so I just didn’t bother anymore. I don’t feel anyhow about not getting my PVC. I don’t know if that’s the right answer but I just don’t feel anything.”
“I registered online early last year in Abeokuta. I went to the INEC office once to ask about my PVC. They told me it wasn’t ready. I asked a contact at their office to help me confirm the status of my PVC and he kept telling me it wasn’t ready. I was surprised, how can it not be ready? I’ve registered since. I feel bad that I wasn’t able to get my PVC but life goes on. We go still vote, anyhow.”
* Respondent chose to remain anonymous
Are you signed up for our Game of Votes newsletter yet? We help you make sense of news jargon and keep you up-to-date, especially with election news. Make the subscription of a lifetime here.