Editor’s Note: Considering Nigeria’s current political climate, our Guest Writer, Orherhe Ejiro, analyses the facts surrounding the collection of PVCs and its possible influence in deciding 2015. Ejiro is an Engineering undergraduate of Obafemi Awolowo university, Ile-Ife.

As the postponed 2015 polls arrives, a large percentage of the electorates wonder: what hope do we have for our future? Do our votes really count? Are we just going to wait in the baking sun or get drenched in the rain all to vote in politicians who woo us every four years with promises they wouldn’t fulfil? Could it be that they have succeeded in making the poor market women and the under-privileged underemployed, believe that their bowls of rice are more important than their leaking buckets of failed promises?
A couple of weeks ago, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released a list of the total number of permanent voters cards (PVCs) collected. It showed that out of about 68 million available permanent voters cards, only about 45 million have been collected by eligible voters. By implication, not more than 65.81 per cent of registered voters can exercise their franchise. Out of a possible 5.8 million voters in Lagos state, for instance, only 2.2 million decided (or have been able) to collect the PVC. In the same vein, only about 700,000 voters in Imo State have collected their voters’ cards so far out of a possible 1.8 million. One tends to ask, have people lost hope?
Whether or not hope is lacking depends on provision of answers to some questions that need to be addressed to the Independent National Electoral Commission also. Prime among them is: What has the electoral umpire done to fast-track collection of PVCs or are we expecting “ghost voters” as previous elections have generated? It’s a big challenge that most voters are not enlightened on alternative methods of collecting the PVC – especially at the Local Government offices. Except for some political campaigners only interested in the votes their desperate employers can attract. Again, one tends to ask, is hope lost in the government or in the incompetence of INEC herself?
In the 2011 polls, the total number of registered voters was 73,528,040 while only 38,199,219 people voted, 51.95 percent of the possible votes. Compared to figures from polls in other countries with India a reference point. From a possible 834,101,479, a total turnout of 553,801,801 was recorded representing 66.40 percent. But in the Nigerian setup with 65.81 percent of registered voters liable to vote in the election (because they have their PVC’s), not more than 45 percent (27 million) of the registered voters are expected to make it to the polls.
From the recently concluded Osun gubernatorial polls, out of a possible 1.4 million registered voters, only about 750,000 voters voted.

As at the time of the poll, around 900,000 voters cards had being distributed and INEC have not made any reasonable improvement in the distribution with less than 1 million voters cards distributed to date.
Despite the incompetence of INEC to get one of its primary assignments done, the voters whose PVC’s are still piled up at the INEC offices are also to blame. It should be said that a majority of these un-claimed PVC owners have lost faith in the system. The highest percentage of PVC collection is Kaduna state with 87 percent claimed. A contrast is the case of Ogun state with just 36 percent collection.

On Monday, the 9th of February, INEC released an article stating its decision to extend the date of collection to the 8th of March giving the voters a rather longer period to retrieve their PVC’s but as an optimistic Nigerian, it would be said that the percentage collection of these PVC’s within this one month period would not exceed the total collection in the past ten days. This is not only because people have lost hope in the system but INEC is also to blame. Recent research showed that INEC officials have come out to be the ones frustrating the efforts of the voters, ranging from non-appearance at the PVC distribution point to loss of documents and cards of these voters.

As we go to cast our votes, electorates should realise that at any point, our votes matter. At no point will rigging not happen (even in civilised nation), but voters should realise that no matter how much they rig, they still depend on our votes. Your PVC is your voice. Hope may be lost but NOT ALL HOPE IS LOST.

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4 Responses to “IS ALL HOPE LOST?

  • Brilliant article.
    I love it.

  • Nice write up

  • Yes, all hope is not lost. Our votes really count. We decide our future.

  • So long our eyes, ears, minds, and heart continues to function for the right of we and the future generation, there is still hope.

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