As Nigeria prepares to go to the next polls in 2023, the political atmosphere is getting more and tenser. All eyes would be fixed on these Elections because the young have seemingly fallen out with the old order and are clamouring for a new political party. Hence, the elections would be a litmus test to see if we are really tired and are ready to birth a new political order.
One of the first steps, however, would be to get your Permanent Voters Card (PVC). As part of our responsibility to building a nation we all would be proud of, we at The Nigeria Journal would be sharing articles on how to become more politically inclusive and owning a PVC would be the first steps on that journey.
Your PVC is the only tool you have to deliver a better future for you and yours. It is what allows you to vote in any election. Without it, you cannot select via election the leaders that you truly desire. For now, Voter Registration has not commenced in preparation for the 2023 general elections. However, once they do, here are the steps that can be followed to obtain your PVC.
According to the information available on the website of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians are qualified to register to vote if they are:
- citizens 18 years of age and older;
- have established an “ordinary residence” in a ward or a Local Government Area (LGA) where they wish to vote and;
- are not subject to any legal incapacity to vote.
- According to the same source, a citizen can register as a voter in the ward or LGA either where they reside or where they are gainfully employed, while indigenous people may vote within the ward or the LGA from which they originate. According to INEC, a person “may choose to travel to his LGA or state of origin to register.”
Article 10 of the Electoral Act, 2010, titled Continuous Registration, indicates that the requirements for a voter to register are as follows:
- There shall be continuous registration of all persons qualified to be registered voters.
- Each applicant for registration under the continuous registration system shall appear in person at the registration venue with any of the following documents-
- birth or baptismal certificate;
- national passport, identity card or driver’s license; or
- any other document that will prove the identity, age and nationality of the applicant.
According to Section 1 of the Electoral (Amendment) Act (No. 2), 2011, INEC stops registering voters 30 days before a general election is held.
According to INEC’s website, voter cards are obtained from a registration centre where a person registered as a voter. A list of Registration Area centres can be found on the INEC website.
- To apply for a Voters Card in person, the applicant has to visit the nearest polling unit in his/her area of residence.
- The polling units in your area can be located with the help of the Polling Unit Locator Tool in the following link: polling unit locator
- Open the link and select your state, Local Government Area and ward with the help of the respective drop-down menus, then click the “Search” button.
- Find the nearest polling unit among the list displayed and go to the polling unit with the documents listed earlier.
- In case if the applicant is about to register to vote for the first time, he/she must approach the relevant authority and present a document as proof of age, nationality and identity.
- If you have registered already and a Temporary Voting Cardholder, you can proceed to present it to the relevant authority and obtain your Voting Card.
- Otherwise, you will have to obtain an Attestation form from the relevant department and complete it with the required details in the respective fields.
- After completing, submit it along with the required documents to the relevant authority at the Polling unit and also pay the required fees as directed.
- Then, the completed form and corresponding documents will be put into further verification and validation processes.
- Once all the processes got completed, the authorities will take the necessary steps for the Voters card issuance process.
- When the card is ready, the office will send a formal notification to the applicant for collecting it by any applicable means.
Appearance and Features
According to information provided on the INEC website, a voter card contains the following information:
- The voter’s name
- The name of the state the voter is registered in
- The name of the LGA
- The Registration Area/Centre and code
- The voter’s Identification number.
A factsheet on the PVCs prepared by INEC also indicates that these cards have many components and specialized features (e.g. base substrate, security printing, personalization, lamination and chip embedding), and it is designed with an average life span of ten (10) years.
The PVC has an embedded chip that contains all the biometrics of a legitimate holder (including fingerprints and facial image). The PVC also has security features that are not easily susceptible to counterfeiting.