There’s a little over eight months to go before the general elections come up and whether you wish to see the present government remain in power or another government to take over at Aso Rock depends solely on you and your vote.
And for your vote to count, you first need to get yourself a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in order to be eligible to make your choice in February 2019.
Now for those who have not got their PVC, here’s all you need to know about how and where you can get yours.
First, go to a verified registration centre nearest to your residence with documents that can be used to prove your identification and age such as your national ID card, national passport, driver’s licence or birth certificate.
So what would the attending INEC officer be trying to obtain from your documents? Proof that you are eligible to obtain a PVC and vote in the elections. This proof includes being a citizen of Nigeria and being at least 18 years old.
The attending officer will also ascertain that you reside, work, or originate from the Ward or Local Government Area in which the registration centre is located. This is particularly important as movement on election day would be very restricted, leaving you with only the polling unit nearest to your location to vote at.
You must also not be subject to any incapacity to vote in Nigeria in order to be eligible.
After your eligibility has been proven, your information is then taken via a Direct Data Capture device along with your photograph and fingerprints after which you should be presented with a temporary voter’s card which will be replaced with a PVC in due course.
Now, INEC’s registration centres usually operate between 9am and 4pm on weekdays so if you are employed on a full-time basis, you may want to take a day off from work to get registered for your PVC.
Also, do not register at multiple centres trying to be smart about getting a PVC from one of the centres fastest – you could end up spending up to a year in jail and/or paying a ₦100,000 fine. Patience is a virtue, guys.
In the event where you already have your PVC but now reside in a different location from the one you originally registered, there are two things involved – you either plan to travel back to the location you got your PVC days before an election so you can vote or you will get a transfer of registration to a centre nearest to your current location.
To transfer your registration, apply for a transfer with INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner through the Electoral Officer of your current location’s LGA.
You will be given an ECTF 001 form to fill and be required to attach a copy of your PVC to the application, which must be submitted at least 60 days before an election.
When your application is deemed satisfactory, your details get deleted from the previous registration centre, a new PVC is made for you, and you will be contacted by INEC when it is ready to be picked up by you in person (no proxy allowed) at the nearest polling unit assigned to you by INEC.
Finally, you should note that INEC is required to carry out voter registration on an ongoing basis until 30 days before an election (excluding transfer of registration which stops 60 days before an election as earlier mentioned). Therefore, you can register for your PVC until 30 days before the 2019 elections.
That said, don’t be one of those who apply the fire-brigade approach to everything. Go out now and get registered as soon as possible so you can take part in deciding the future of your country.