The Independent National Electoral Commission has said after one month its flagged-off distribution of about 34,000 newly printed Permanent Voter Cards for new registrants, only 3,000 applicants have come for collection across the state.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, said this on Tuesday at a briefing on ‘Youth Vote Count’, an awareness campaign to mobilise and get youths registered in the Continuous Voter Registration, holding at Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos.
INEC in collaboration with the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement as well as other partners are organising a mega music concert in Lagos on Saturday.
Agbaje said, “Already, we have about 34, 000 new PVCs for those who registered between June 2021 and Dec. 2021.
“But it is very disturbing that since April this year when we brought out these cards for people to collect, as at last week Monday, only 3,000 PVCs have been collected by their owners.
“I told my electoral officers in various local government areas to call the owners on phone to come for their PVCs, but people want us to bring them to their houses.
“This is not possible, we must be ready to make some sacrifices and efforts to go and collect their PVCs.”
He said the CVR would end on June 30, adding that INEC would not extend the closing date for registration.
The Lagos INEC REC said that though INEC had captured a significant number of people in the ongoing CVR expected to end on June 30, there were lots of qualified Nigerians, especially the youth who had not showed up.
Agbaje said that about 1,000 prospective voters were registered on the first day of the ‘Youth Vote Count’ awareness and mobilisation that started Monday at TBS, with 50 CVR machines deployed.
On the mega music concert slated for Saturday at TBS, Agbaje said various artistes would be on the ground to sensitise the youth on the need to get their PVCs or Temporary Voter Cads.
The Programme Manager, EU SDGN, Ms Laolu Olawunmi, noted that INEC and its partners were implementing plans to mobilise voters for 2023 elections.
Olawunmi said the concept of the Youth Vote Count was a non-partisan campaign unveiled in 2018 with the sole objective of getting young people to participate more in the electoral process.
She said, “Almost everyone here knows that the population of young people in this country is huge and that hasn’t necessarily translated to an effective participation in the electoral process.
“How can we get young Nigerians to get involved? Not only to get involved but also encourage others to get involved. Nigeria belongs to everyone and we should not neglect this process.”