Voting is our constitutional right and this time, many people are gearing up to get their PVC (Permanent Voter’s Card) to enable them vote for their desired presidential candidate. The INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) opened the portal for online PVC registration in June 2021 and registration process is expected to end on the 31st of July, 2022. Those who have registered online will go to their designated centers to complete their registration and in a few months, get their PVC. For this week’s episode of Nigeria Lives, we reached out to 5 Nigerians who recently registered for their PVC and who have collected their PVC to narrate their experience trying to secure their voter’s card.
In 2018, I decided to get my PVC so I could vote in 2019. They told us that there would be different centres we can register and get our PVC. They made the registration process difficult. The registration centres were extremely few and sparse. The one on the island was very far from where I live and it wasn’t in a local government or INEC office. It was done in a public school beside Lagoon secondary school. On the day of registration, the moment I arrived, I met close to 600 people in line. People were trying to skip the line and when you get to the front of the line, there were delays like network issues or someone would tell someone to bring their BVN (Biometric Verification Number) and passport photo. I wasn’t able to complete my registration because we waited in line until 7 pm. I came back the next day, and it was the same thing and this time, they decided to give numbers out. Day 2 went by it was the same story. I was under the sun trying to register for my PVC. Eventually, I realized that the numbers we got were useless as people who didn’t even get numbers got in cause they most likely paid to get in. The people assigned to handle the registration were informing people that they would be moved to the front of the line if they paid. Registration for PVC is supposed to be free. They wanted people to be frustrated to the point that they pay. I didn’t pay because I felt it was my right as a Nigerian. After much delay, when I got to the front, they said there were network issues. I insisted on waiting. After a while, they said they wanted to go for a lunch break. It broke into an argument because I had been there since morning and they can’t be leaving for a lunch break. Next thing, they threatened they wouldn’t register me. I called my lawyer friend who came with a mopol. He threatened to get them arrested and eventually I got registered. They said I can come back the following day to get my PVC and they told me that they are postponing the PVC collection date. I was wondering what I could hold on to, and they said they can print out a slip, I asked why they didn’t print ut the slip the day I came for registration. They wasted my time. I came back on the fourth day to try and get my PVC. It got to a point things got physical and I had to be a nuisance. At about 4 pm, they eventually gave up on my ruckus and bants. Eventually, one of the ladies got pissed, went to the back and brought out a bunch of cards. She started going through them until she saw mine. I was shocked they had it and I confronted them about it. They did that to make money from people. People were shocked I got my PVC and I let them know their cards are inside. It caused a small riot which I am proud of.
I registered for my PVC online and got a date to finish my PVC registration. I took a day off work to complete my registration and it was the ghetto. My appointment was for 9:15 am at First gate, Festac. I arrived at about 9:20 am and saw a crowd. I was shocked. I thought I would walk into a building and at least have a seat but I was wrong. After hanging around the section for offline registration for an hour, I realize I was in the wrong section. I found the section for online registration and stood among the crowd for PVC collection not knowing I was there to complete my online registration. I eventually found where I was supposed to be and realized there are two lists without my name. I eventually started the third list and wrote my name. While waiting amongst the crowd. Some men came to cause trouble and I was caught in the middle of the back and forth. In the process of the fighting, someone hit the back of my head. I got upset and pushed one of the men. In a few minutes, I got a headache. A moment later, a group of people on were fighting adjacent to us. At about 3pm, the third list was called and I went in. In a couple of minutes, my finger print and picture was taken, I got my slip and left at about 4:00pm.
I left my house around 7 am. They had posted a list of PVC centres and I went to a familiar centre. When I got there, people were surprised that they do PVC registration there. Someone directed me to go somewhere else but when I told them that I am not from Cross river state, they said it would be difficult for someone to attend to me so I had to go to the INEC office. I got to INEC office at about 8 am and stood at the gate up until 2 pm because they didn’t attend to me. I was sitting on the floor waiting. At 2 pm, I was among the 10 people that were selected to go in. By the time they attended to me and gave me the temporary slip, it was around 5 pm.
I went to the INEC office at First gate at Festac. There was no queue. I went in, registered and got my picture and biometrics captured. When my PVC was ready I went to pick it up. There was no stress