Nigerians are rushing to pick up their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to be able to exercise their civil rights in next month’s presidential elections.
Four major candidates are among 18 others, campaigning to replace Muhammadu Buhari, whose second term tenure ends on May 29.
INEC said it registered nearly 10 million new voters for the general elections, which begin on Feb. 25 with the presidential poll.
Out of this number, 84 per cent are young people, aged under 34.
Despite growing insecurity and increasing poverty, many young Nigerians said they are“ keener now to participate in the electoral process”.
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Crowds gathered at registration centres, where election officials called out names, checked off lists and handed out the biometric PVCs.
Some would-be voters were successful but others were frustrated to be told to come back.
“They told me my PVC is not ready,” said Charles Daniel, a software engineer in Lagos.
“We need to get things right and that is why I am taking the time and the stress to get my PVC,” Daniel added.
Nigeria’s elections in the past have been marred by logistical delays, violence and claims of fraud and vote buying.
In 2019, difficulty in getting material to polling stations forced INEC to postpone the election by a week, just hours before voting was scheduled to start.
But election officials say 2023’s ballot will be more transparent following the introduction of electronic transfer of results and a biometric voter identification technology known as BVAS at the voting stations.
This, hopefully, will stop electoral fraud.
“This instilled confidence in our people,” Adenike Tadese, INEC head of voter education in Lagos, said.
“I want to believe that is why our people are trooping out en masse to ensure that they come out to collect this Permanent Voting Card.”
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