The dwindling economy, state of dilapidating infrastructure, and inflation amongst others aren’t the only factors that make the upcoming 2023 Nigerian general elections consequential. More than ever, a large fraction of new voters are headed to the polls for the very first time, a definitive block that can either make or mar outcomes for the top contenders.
For more than a year now, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has conducted new voter registration exercises across every local government in the 36 states and FCT across the country. Whilst many successes have been recorded so far, there still seems to be a large number of Nigerian youths that haven’t gotten a PVC or registered for one.
Cases of long queues, corrupt officials, and even violence orchestrated by unknown thugs have been reported—valid issues that can deter plans of anyone willing to register, but these corcerns don’t seem to be mainstream as reflected in the number of new voters INEC has recorded so far.
According to the electoral body, the total number of registered voters in Nigeria has risen from 84 million to 96.2 million, which means that a total of 12.2 million new voters have registered over the past months and will be headed to vote at the next general elections, an impressive turnout that even INEC admits as a milestone record. Although the continuous voter registration exercise ended on Saturday, 30th of June 2022, there are still calls from across the federation for INEC to extend the registration as many Nigerians still haven’t gotten the chance to do the needful.
So far, markets have been closed, workplaces have given days off and in fact, the general consciousness of the PVC necessity has been felt by all and sundry, even in the most mundane spaces such as clubs and malls. Many young people believe the next elections are ‘do or die,’ the general consensus of the populace and statistics show that Nigeria as a nation has never had it this bad, and the only chance to change the fate of the nation is to particulate in the 2023 elections. For the Nigerian youth, it’s not enough to trend hashtags or tweet our disdain, what really matters is for as many of us to get a Permanent voters Card (PVC), exercise our civic responsibility, and that the biggest voter block isn’t disenfranchised in the next elections. Remember, numbers don’t lie.
We spoke to 12 Nigeria youths about why they haven’t gotten their PVCs yet and this is what we got:
THE QUESTION: WHY HAVEN’T YOU GOTTEN A PVC?
Shina, 23 (Product Designer)
The truth is, it’s actually embarrassing that I haven’t even tried to get my PVC. I’m always arguing politics online and on my office group chat but it hardly crosses my mind to try at least. Maybe because I don’t have a lot of politically conscious friends around me. Most of my friends are focused on Japa-ing more than the 2023 elections so its not a general discourse. I heard the process has come to a close but honestly, if it ever gets reopened, I’ll be the first to register.
Arabella, 26 (Fashion Designer)
With everything happening around me, I’m unsure if I want to participate in next year’s elections. I mean today you see on the news that thugs attacked a registration center, tomorrow it’s Nigerians lamenting about the long queues trying to get PVCs. None of it just seems encouraging to me so I have decided to pass. Sorry, but no sorry.
Clifford, 30 (Artisan)
It’s time for me. Me whey I never chop belle-ful, how I wan take find the time to dey go queue for one whole day because of PVC. Shey INEC go pay me? Abeg make anybody way wan enter enter, e no go change anything for me.
Ese, 19 (student)
I’ve been home for months just hoping ASUU calls off the strike. I’m a 300-level student that was hoping to be done this year but now the future looks bleak. I just want to graduate, I care less about what’s going to happen at the elections. It’s going to be rigged anyways.
Anthonia, 23 (Event Planner)
To be honest I’ve tried like….2…3 times and the experience just gets stressful time after time. There was this time I went as early as 6:30 and I was number 227. There was no way I was going to wait till my tag got called. I even gave one of the officials to call me when it was my turn since I lived just down the road, I never got a call lol.
Seyi, 25 (Entrepreneur)
I don’t care. That’s a very blunt answer but I really do not. I have no hope for Nigeria left in me and I don’t see my 1 vote making a difference. The rest should be wise in making a choice sha. Much love.
Marcellina, 26 (Accountant)
I go to work twice a week, and on the days I’m home and I choose to go, the exercise just gets so long and the next thing you hear is “come early tomorrow” imagine! After a whole day, I had to give up after some time.
Babafemi, 29 (Banker)
I just don’t have the time. My work always tells most of it so there’s no way I’m going to spend my little time trying to get a PVC. Don’t get me wrong, I really wish I could. If only INEC will bring back the online registration thing, I snoozed the last time.
Hasan, 22 (Journalist)
No, I haven’t got a PVC yet. Mind you, this is the first time I’m telling the truth because I know the shock that will run through people’s veins. Like “You mean a Journalist doesn’t have PVC yet y’all stigmatize others for not having”. It just has never been top of my mind, and expect there’s a simpler way, maybe my pizza delivery guy whipping out a device and shouting “time to get your PVC!”. I don’t see it happening, at least not soon.
Femi, 32 (Programmer)
OMO! I have never come across one Nigerian with a good experience about trying to get their PVC so I don’t just reason it. Heard it’s even easier this year because I have friends who got theirs in previous election cycles but you see this 2023 own… e no just gel for me. Some will say “sapa never back me reach” but I don’t think that’s the case.
Aliya, 27 (Trader)
That thing day quick turn person, imagine make person wake up go collect market around 5’o clock, sometimes I go even say make I branch their center try if I go quick see space sharp, people for don full there like say they no even sleep for house. Me I get market to sell and I no fit risk one full day.
China 20 (student)
At this point, I’m trying to Japa. This country has crushed me so much and I just need a degree so I can get a job and take care of my own family. Even if ASUU calls off the strike now, what’s the assurance that I finally get to write my exams, graduate, find a good-paying job, and be able to take care of my friends and family? You see? Japa season abeg.