“We do not have government by the majority.
We have government by the majority who participate.”
– Thomas Jefferson
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), had on Friday, December, 2nd 2022 given out information on the collection of permanent voters’ cards following a retreat held by the commission in Lagos with all the Administrative Secretaries and Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory from the 28th November to 2nd December, 2022.
Procedures and timetables for the collection of the PVCs were consequently finalised, and Monday 12th December 2022 to Sunday 22 January 2023 as the dates for the collection of PVCs in all the 774 Local Government Offices of the Commission throughout the Federation.
It has been gathered that the Commission also resolved to devolve PVC collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards from Friday 6th to Sunday 1 5th January 2023. In addition, those that are unable to collect their PVCs at the Local Government Offices of the Commission can do so at the Registration Areas/ Electoral Wards. After the 15th of January 2023, the exercise will revert to the Local Government Offices of the Commission until 22nd January 2023.
All eligible and valid registrants can collect their PVCs from 9.00am to 3.00pm daily, including Saturdays and Sundays.
In addition, all the RECS and Electoral Officers (EOS) have been directed to convene a meeting with the critical stakeholders in their States and Local Government Areas, including traditional and religious leaders, civil society groups, community-based organisations and the media to brief them on the modalities for the collection of the PVCs in order to sensitise the public and ensure seamless exercise.
Similarly, RECs and EOS have also been directed to set up help desks to assist registrants with complaints about their PVCs or with the PVC collection procedure for immediate redress.
The take home point here, and perhaps the most important point is that collection of all PVCs has commenced. Now, you do not have an excuse because the process has been made easy and seamless as the collection will be brought to your point of registration.
WHY YOU SHOULD COLLECT YOUR CARD AND VOTE
Most Nigerians do obtain national documents like the PVC, National Identification Number, etc. Only so they can have it in case they may be needed in critical situations, but not to use them for anything like voting or to show active citizenship.
LET’S LOOK BACK AT NIGERIA THESE PAST YEARS
Prior to the return to civilian rule in 1999, a good number of Nigerians were helplessly and painstakingly enduring many years of servitude by the junta. The junta, as expected, never cared or cared less if the ‘ordinary civilians’, as they derogatorily refer to the masses, were dead or alive.
Unfortunately, 22 years after the return of civil rule, the masses are seeing worse treatments than in all the military regimes of the 70s and 80s put together. Sadly, these pains are endured as if they do not even exist at all, creating a mindset among the people to accept whatever is the system produces as a government to ‘rule’ them.
One cannot help, but envision a happy past that may have never existed. The talk of the ‘good old days’ sounds like a fable, while the masses have lost faith in the leadership of the country, especially in recent times.
The reality of the situation we are facing now is that, if there are truly dividends of democracy, the masses have not tasted such in the recent times; rather they have been fed with stone in the place of bread and blood in place of water and this has gone on to be the order of the day for most, if not all of the governments that come on board to lead the people, irrespective of political party and ethnic borderlines.
THE FACTS THAT THE COUNTRY IS IN A NOSEDIVE
– Two recessions in the last six years.
– The economy continues to be in a very bad shape with the government being totally helpless as it continues to plunder.
– An unimaginable rise in the prices of commodities.
– In the last six years, which captures the present administration, inflation has risen unimaginably, food security is fable, insecurity has taken deadlier dimensions, corruption, which the government swore to fight, is fighting back and winning more converts, poverty is preeminent as the country infamously ranks as the world capital of poverty today.
The plights of the masses cannot be overemphasized. They are getting poorer by the day and the elites continue to rise by the rank through corrupt practices. To square one’s meal at three is even more difficult in recent times. Quality and stable education and healthcare are far out of the reach of the poor masses.
THE ONLY WAY OUT
“Getting involved is the only solution. You don’t have to like politics, you have to get involved.”
– Donatus Okonkwo
EnoughisEnough (EiE), a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria, in its recent newsletter, advised: “Do Not Just Register, Vote!”
The NGO further added: “Completing the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process is a demonstration of your intention to participate in the elections! However, when intent is not converted to action on Election Day, the results can be far reaching.”
People may, however, have genuine reasons for not taking part in electoral processes in the country, but no matter how plausible the reasons may be, all Nigerians must be urged to change the habit in 2023 in order to have a change of narrative.
One can never overlook the fact that electioneering is a major component of democracy. It is, in fact, the main yardstick used to determine the level upon which countries in the international system have been able to embrace social equality.
Without doubt, this process presents the citizens of any given civilized country the opportunity to decide who represents them in governance at the local, state and national levels.
Elections are very fundamental to the stability of democracy, as it regulates representation of popular will, and it unarguably stands out as the safest and most diplomatic way to elect the best officials to man political positions and give value and service to the people.
Despite the progress Nigeria has made in its democratic quest in the last two decades, the general lack of interest among Nigerians in exercising their civic responsibility and voting to elect who leads them is constantly and widely acknowledged.
Nigeria is currently facing a lot of crises; economical, financial, medical and educational. The need to choose a leader who can tackle these problems decisively is indispensable.
Wait for a moment: imagine what the country would be if the situation gets worse than this. Imagine if the next government comes to meet the people whispering that the past government was better. With all these in mind, it is important to note that choosing the right leader will save the country and lead the country to better days where we can look away from the pains and decay of the past.
Citizens who had registered for their PVCs should ensure to collect it.
Citizens who are collecting their voter’s cards should ensure they vote right.
We should get past the era of being smeared by mediocrity on grounds of material gains. There is no perfect person, but there surely is someone who has the vision to fulfill the mission of Nigeria.
Go and get your PVCs. Use it wisely, when you do!
Power: commissioner, charges staff of the ministry
25th MAY, 2023 By GREG BETIANG The Cross River State Commissioner for Power, Victor Agwu, …