The 2023 general elections are less than a year away and politicians have already started hustling to appear on the ballot. Aspirants for public office are buying nomination forms worth millions of naira, making campaign promises and producing painfully hilarious campaign jingles like this:
While the politicians are already setting things in place, statistics are showing that voters are maybe not doing enough to prepare.
To vote in the election, every Nigerian of voting age needs a permanent voter card (PVC). It’s important. You can’t show up to a voting centre with your driver’s licence to vote.
At the end of the 2019 elections, Nigeria had 84 million people on the voters’ register. And when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) resumed the PVC registration exercise in June 2021, it set a target to register 20 million new voters.
More than nine months into the registration exercise, only 4.4 million people have registered. That’s only 22% of the target set by INEC. More than three million have started their online registration but haven’t completed it yet.
Let’s run down a list of the most common questions about the registration process:
When does registration end?
The ongoing PVC registration exercise will be paused on June 30th 2022. Anyone that hasn’t registered for PVC by then won’t be able to vote in the 2023 general elections. The registration exercise also likely won’t resume until at least 2024.
What if I need to change my voting centre?
INEC is also still processing other PVC-related issues including change of voting location and requests for new PVCs. You can start that process with an online application here. This will also be paused on June 30th.
What if I can’t register online?
Some people have experienced problems with completing their online registration. This shouldn’t stop you. If you’re affected by this, you can show up at a registration centre close to you to start the process there instead.
I have registered but when do I get my PVC?
INEC is yet to start printing PVCs for new voters. The agency has to clean up the registration process to ensure only genuine registrants are added to the voters’ register. When this is completed, INEC will announce the date new voters can start collecting their PVCs.
Why do I need to register for PVC?
Voter turnout in Nigeria’s general elections has been dropping since 2003 even though the voters’ register has been increasing. This is due to a host of reasons including disorganisation, election violence, voter apathy and probably Desmond Elliot.
But despite the disappointment Nigerians feel about the political class, voting at the ballot remains the most effective way for them to determine the future of the country. Getting as many people as possible to register and vote for the right candidates will determine how the country will deal with its many challenges.
This is why it’s important that everyone that’s eligible to vote does so. It’s the part you have to play in the giant machine that is Nigeria.