Thursday, 14 December 2017 00:40

Power of Permanent Voter Card (PVC), Its Use and Nigeria's 2019 Presidential Election

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This article is borne out of the frustration and disappointment expressed by many Nigerians at the poor performance of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of the country. More important, there is a Presidential Election taking place in 2019, when the use of Permanent Voter Card (PVC) by the Nigeria's Voting population would be Golden. The use of PVC becomes an important, critical instrument for electing the presidential candidate, who would be occupying the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja for the next 4years. This is to say that many Nigerians of voting age take the utility of PVC in the election process for granted. In many democratic societies around the world, the importance of Permanent Voter Card cannot be overemphasized in the election of or putting a political candidate in office.

There is an interesting and revealing statistics about Nigerians attitude towards their political responsibility for voting to elect the country's president into office. Nigeria with a population of 180 million people out of which 68.8million registered and were eligible to vote in the 2015 General election. This means only 38 per cent of the country's population registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) as eligible voters. This percentage is relatively small or low in comparison to the 61% of its population who are eligible to register as voters according to the National Population Commission (NPC) and the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS). This low percentage suggests a state of low interest by many Nigerians in the country's politics, particularly in an election.

As an Analyst, could this low percentage be attributed to the voters' apathy, inertia or some other factors? Even more revealing is that only 28,587,564 Nigerians went to the polls to cast their votes on the day of the general election in 2015, which translates to 15.9% of the country's total population. It is worthy of note that in 2015 general election, the president was elected by a small number of voters throughout the country.
Against this backdrop of low voters turnout in the country, there should be strong efforts on the part of INEC to establish a Public Awareness Programme to mobilize and educate the Nigerian voting population about their civic duties and responsibilities to exercise their voting rights in 2019. It is important and beneficial for Nigerians of voting age to register and be holders of Permanent Voter Card in preparation for the 2019 election.

Ownership of a PVC is not sufficient in a democracy like Nigeria, the holder of the card must be interested and committed to exercise his or her voting rights on an Election Day. The most impactful use of PVC is using the card to elect your candidate of choice into a political office, such as a member of the National Assembly or State Assembly or Local Government Council. As Nigerians, having a PVC in your possession merely gives you the privilege to vote on an Election Day. It is imperative to use the Permanent Voter Card to elect your preferred candidate to any political office in the land.

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Joel Ademisoye Ph.D

Dr. Joel Ademisoye, Adjunct Professor of Geography at the University of the District of Columbia and Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, former Senior Management Analyst with Randstad USA/PBGC, a Political Appointee of D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, a Community Leader in the Nigerian community and a Writer.