The permanent voter’s card (PVC) has become a household name in Nigeria over the past few months. It may be just a regular plastic card but it’s the only tool Nigerians have to choose their leaders. And with the 2023 general elections only eight months away, it’s almost impossible to survive a full 24 hours without hearing about the PVC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) resumed the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise in June 2021 for new voters. This allows eligible Nigerians who are 18 and above to register to vote. The CVR also allows those with damaged cards and other card problems to rectify their issues before next year’s polls.
The deadline for the CVR exercise was initially set for June 30th, 2022 but was recently extended without a definite date.
We decided to look at all the important numbers one year since the CVR started. These figures are based on INEC’s update of June 27th, 2022.
8.6 million new voters
A total of 8,631,698 people have completed their PVC registration nationwide since June 2021. They will join the other 84 million voters that were on the register for the 2019 general elections.
6 million youths will vote for the first time
Out of the 8.6 million new voters, 6,081,456 of them are young people between the ages of 18 and 34. This voting demography is followed by 1,748,993 middle-aged new voters between 35 and 49 years of age and 703,968 elderly voters between 50 and 69.
97,279 people who are 70 and above will also vote for the first time.
3.1 million student voters
3,084,924 of the 8.6 million that are fully registered are students who’ll also get to vote for the first time.
4.3 million female voters
The gender distribution of new voters is almost evenly split, but there are slightly more women (4,339,006) than men (4,292,690).
Offline > Online
The CVR started in June with an online pre-registration process, but more people started and completed their registration by going directly to INEC centres. Of the total 8.6 million that completed registration, only 3,250,449 started online. To put that in context, a total of 10,487,972 submitted online applications for PVCs since June 2021, leaving more than seven million yet to complete the process.
States in the southern region have set the pace in online applications and the number of applications completed over the past year. These are the top five with completed applications:
Delta — 396,900
Kano — 380,582
Bayelsa — 379,438
Rivers — 372,406
Lagos — 371,760
23.5 million online applications in total since 2021
A total of 23,560,043 applications have been submitted on the INEC portal since June 2021. This figure includes applications for new PVCs, transfer of voting location, requests to replace damaged or lost PVCs or requests to update voter information records.
Those who registered between June and December 2021 are already cleared to collect their cards and those who have been registering since January will start collecting their cards in October 2022. Nigerians currently rushing to register for PVC are unlikely to start collecting their cards until January 2023.
Since it’s unclear when CVR will end, you should go to an INEC centre near you (only if you’re eligible, of course), and register to vote.