The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released updated voters register since it launched its portal in June 2021. The portal allows Nigerians to register and update their voter information online before completing the process physically at designated locations. From INEC data, out of the total 12,097,240 applications, including requests for new Permanent Voters Cards (PVC), replacements of PVC, and information updates, 7,009,343 new applications have been received as of Monday, the 14th of March, 2022.
From the Commission’s record, the current Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), which is billed to end on the 30th of June, 2022, has recorded only about 2,774,823 youth between the ages of 18-35 who have duly applied for their PVC. This June deadline is also coming on the heels of the recent revelation by the electoral umpire that 44.6% of the registrations since June 2021 have been invalidated, with the INEC Chairman admitting in a press conference recently that it is a “challenging development” that would require the affected persons to re-register.
With barely two months to the end of the registration, Nigerians are at the risk of being disenfranchised at the next general elections if the umpire and relevant stakeholders do not take drastic measures.
For us at SING Nigeria, we are especially concerned by the low participation of youth since the portal opened in June 2021, much more so that a good number of those who participated have been invalidated according to INEC. To this end, we are launching a campaign tagged: Heightening Youth Participation in Elections (HYPE) PVC to create awareness and mobilise youth voters as the registration edges towards closure in June 2022.
SING Nigeria’s “HYPE PVC” project seeks to create a digitalised campaign to deepen not only awareness about youth participation in politics but also significantly improve the registration and collection of Permanent Voters Card through an intensive online campaign. The campaign will also be extended to various tertiary institutions across selected states in the country through a campus drive which is designed to intensify registration of young voters.
Inclusivity is a vital ingredient of democratic governance; hence, this campaign, which would leverage digital technology and social media platforms, makes a case for youth to be active players in the leadership selection process. We also hold that the youth must be involved beyond the current social media advocacy through quality participation in political parties’ activities ahead of the general elections.
We use this opportunity to call on the INEC to take full responsibility by ensuring that no Nigerian is disenfranchised for its own technical and staff complicity. The Commission must respond promptly to resolve every technical glitch that may resurface during the registration process going forward.
While we acknowledge that the Commission has a timetable it must adhere to so as to deliver its responsibilities, we are demanding a possible extension of the registration period, given the number of invalidated applications that were recently announced.
As we intensify efforts as an organisation to mobilise Nigerian youths and the general voting population, we are equally seizing this platform to reach out to relevant stakeholders, including other civil society organizations (CSOs), political parties, media, opinion leaders, and indeed INEC voter education department to intensify awareness campaigns and mobilise the public to register within this last phase.