The acronym PVC stands for Permanent Voters Card.
In some regions, it’s just a card, to many Nigerians it’s like an ATM card used for identification, to a larger number it is a civic card that allows one to exercise his/her franchise during electoral exercises or processes.
The permeant voter’s card is an identity, a national one, which allows all citizens who have come of age constitutionally to vote. It is a civic identity that enables citizens to make decisions on who can and will lead them both at the state and federal levels.
The permeant voter’s card is a necessity for all Nigerians, especially, in the forthcoming general elections. This card contains personal information about individuals. The PVC stores information such as biometric data i.e. physical attributes, like facial recognition and expressions, thumbprint, etc. It protects the information stored on the card. The information on the PVCs is electronically programmed and can only be read /assessed electronically with a card reader, or any other electronic devices.
The permeant voter’s card is a secured property of the federal republic of Nigeria, it also serves a wide range of purposes in the country, as much we can say, it’s a substitute for the National Identification Number NIN. The card is one of such documents that is legally protected by the constitution and has the legal power to vote or re-elect one into office. The permeant voters’ card is many things, to many Nigerians, but, most importantly, it is an identity of purpose and freedom to fundamental human rights.
The permeant voter’s card as it is a unique and special number: VIN; Voter’s Identification Number (VIN). – The Independent National Electoral Commission assign every registered voter a voter’s identification number (VIN) consisting of three parts, each separated by a dash. This number is important during elections and other commercial usages of the card. It also, contains information like the name, the VIN, date of birth, state of origin and other information regarding local government, place of voting, otherwise known as polling units and other essential details as requested by INEC.
In past years, the permeant voter’s cards have not been widely known as compared to recent years in 2019 and 2022 continuous voters registration across the country, there has been a tremendous increase and participation in voters registration across the nation. This exercise has led to the knowledge of what PVC means, because, in the past decade, some persons only used it for other purposes, like identification during bank verification or as a pass to enter a certain area, but in today’s time, its purpose and importance has been widely known to be a card that allows one to vote and exercise their civic rights.
This, however, might be to the fact that Nigerians are tired of a failed society and leadership and they all need a change, and if there must be a change in the country’s system of government, the people, and the masses needs to know what the card stands for PVC: Permeant Voters Card. This awareness has been a great impact on how citizens engage in electoral and civic practices in the country.
The big question, is not what a PVC looks like, or what it is: the obvious is how can one get their permeant voters card? The Independent National Electoral Commission has released five steps to getting a permeant voters card for the next coming general elections, these steps are in one way or the other to help citizens get their PVC, either by new voter registration, or transferring of voters polling points from one place to the other, or retrieving a lost card, etc.
This year’s PVC process also shows cracks in Nigeria’s identification system and unintentionally gives room to non- Nigerians to secure PVCs, proving a point that obtaining a PVC is more of a security threat to Nigeria than a necessity.
So far, this year’s PVC process has shown poor INEC staff control, overwhelmed workforce and machines, staff demanding bribes, and much recently, the attack on Nigerian traders of South-Eastern extraction in Lagos state by thugs as they closed their shops earlier this month to go register for their PVCs.
There are three main contenders for the Presidential election in 2023. The first is Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), former Governor of Anambra state who has gotten the interest of young Nigerians and built strong online support during the election period. He has also been influenced by years of speaking on National TV about Nigeria’s economic fiscal health, promising to take Nigeria to an era of increased economic productivity to fight unemployment.
The second is Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President, who has promised to focus his administration, if elected, on restructuring Nigeria and pushing forward Private sector-led growth. And finally Bola Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State and the “spiritual leader” of the leading party, the APC. In a document viewed by Naira metrics, Tinubu promised to also focus on economic development, promising to build 15000 MW of electricity production if elected.
However, in the course of getting a PVC, one revelation that is obvious to any Nigerian paying attention to the process is, that Nigerians DO NOT NEED a Personal Voter’s Card. Secondly, there are no background or security checks asked by INEC officials while registering for their cards, which ensures the threat of non-Nigerians being able to vote at the elections.
Reaching out to the INEC centre in the Garki area of the FCT, Nigerians began queuing up for the process as early as 5 am. INEC officials then demand that they write their names which would be called out by numerical order. However, when the registration process starts by 9 am, the system turns out to be partly adhered to, when the “Nigerian pressure hits”.
In early 2021, the Nigerian Government warned that Nigerians who have not had their phone numbers linked to their National Identification Numbers (NIN), would have their numbers barred, an exercise that forced Nigerians to spend days also queuing up at centres to save their phone lines. Those who were lucky to have their lines linked already (through their Bank Verification process, which was another torturous process), did not have to go through much hassle. However, with a BVN, and a NIN linked to your phone numbers, Nigerians ALREADY have a representation system which is good enough to be used for voter accreditation.
By 9 am at the INEC office, it became glaring that any Nigerian with a BVN and an accredited NIN, do not need to spend 8 hours of their day getting a PVC, which has zero links with their already accredited NIN which again as stated, is linked to their BVNs and phone numbers.
An INEC staff overwhelmed by the number of new arrivals creates a new line of people who should be able to do their registration. If you came before 6 am, and are the lucky few to be within numbers 1-100, it does not matter anymore, as you have to be in a new line with others who just came.
After standing under the sun and rain for close to 5 hours to get your PVCs done, INEC suddenly remembers the list they gave you earlier in the day. While inside, you are given a form to fill, which indicates where your polling unit is and many others; however, one missing key in the form is any sort of identification number linked to an International passport, BVN, NIN or even driver’s license, (basically, the entire point of waiting to get a PVC done is to create an entirely new identity for a Nigerian not linked to any other identity, which can be very useful in the wrong hands). The data capture phase requires the voter to have their pictures taken, and respond to questions, including date of birth, place of birth, address, schooling, and phone number, WITH ZERO PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION, requested.
To conclude, a non-Nigerian who lives in Nigeria can queue up with the rest of us, get into the INEC offices and get a PVC, which means the non-Nigerian can also vote and influence Nigerian elections because no form of proof of identification is requested by INEC staff. This sort of access can be risky and also be used for voter manipulation. Nigerians have gone through various torturous processes to get their BVNs and NIN which are linked, and do not need a PVC which carries a major security threat for Nigeria during this period of high insecurity, this is reported to enable Nigerians to beware of the processes and also curb security issues with CVR process across the country.