Friday, It Ends: All About Your Voter’s Card

To be able to vote in 2019, and decide who runs this country you will need to have a voter’s card. You have talked the talk on the streets and social media, it is now time to walk to walk. If at this point you don’t have a Permanent Voter’s Card or a Temporary Voter’s Card, you have till Friday to decide if you want to sideline yourself in deciding the future and also deprive yourself of other merits of the voter’s card. While primarily it serves as a certificate to vote, it also makes opening accounts with your bank easier, travelling to neighboring and far countries (transport companies grants subsidy to those with it seeking to use their service), and in many cases can stand as means of identification and clarification. For those who are primarily after some of these benefits it endows, you can make voting a secondary function. Please. Smh.

Before we get to how to get a voter’s card, let’s clear this misconception. There’s usually Nigerians who spread the message that voting is useless and that the results have already been written before we get to the polling units. When you analyse some of these results you will see that it is not that this doesn’t happen(it happens in few areas and largely in the past), but that it is not the most significant factor. The narrative that all is written is not true and we have had experiences that disagree with the notion. In Imo State, 2011, the same erratic message was in circulation. The people were told that the incumbent, Ikedi Ohakim, had conspired with the leadership at the center to release already prepared results. This proved to be a lie and a strategy by some persons to dissuade opponents of his government from voting.

If election results from every part of the country are already written by the government in power and usually presented as the final result, why didn’t the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, win the last elections? If elections are already written why didn’t the ruling party, APC, defeat Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State? If results are already written why didn’t the former Governor of IMO State, retain his seat even as incumbent? If elections results are already written why didn’t the ruling party win the Gubernatorial elections in Lagos State? Why didn’t the South Easy vote Buhari? Why didn’t the North West vote for Jonathan? The assertion springs from some cases in the past and mischievous persons and those not thoroughly analysing. It is also an excuse for persons who don’t want to take responsibility. If we were all responsible enough to go to the booths, this young democracy wouldn’t had given us cancer.

The final day for registration was the 21st August before it was extended to 31st. This is how to get yours:

If you already have a Permanent Voter’s Card you don’t need to register anymore. It means that your name, face, age and fingerprints are in the database of the electoral body. The voter’s register is continuously updated and in case you are not sure of your status or you are not sure if you’ve registered with the commission, you can simply visit here for verification. That aside. First condition is that you must have reached the age of eighteen (18) and must be a citizen of Nigeria. It doesn’t go by proxy as you must be physically present for the verification and registration exercise. Locate the Local Government Area Council quarters you live in and get to the INEC, Independent National Electoral Commission, block.

Registration usually begins by 9 am and ends by 4pm but some States took it to 5pm to accommodate more persons. They work from Monday to Friday but in States like Imo, weekends are also work days just to accommodate more persons. Without the voter’s card, you disenfranchise yourself from partaking in the 2019 elections and Friday, the 31st of August, that right is gone. At the exercise, you are simply asked to supply your Date of Birth, your fingerprints are read and your face captured. The staff must be clear you pass verification and where in doubt, like when a person looks too young for the age, a means of verification, e.g, certificate of birth, is requested for confirmation. National Identity Cards, Driver’s Licence, Identity Passports could also be requested as the case may be. This rarely happens though and most electorates just go without any of these.

Next is the issuance of a Temporary Voter’s Card to the person. The Temporary Voter’s Card, TVC, will later be replaced by the Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, issued on a date decided by INEC. It is wise to register in a place close to you or a place you can stay comfortably during the election period. Some Nigerians register in one place and before the day of elections, fear and other factors creep in and their peace is disturbed, so they leave to a safe place usually their hometown. To avoid this, register in a Local Government Area, LGA, you can live in even during the elections. Make your opinion count for this is a democracy. If you have to travel to your hometown to register you can go ahead but if you can’t do that you can apply for a change of LGA at INEC. This must be done at least 60 days before the elections. Utility or Water Bills or confirmation of residence could be requested.

The way to remove any bad government in any democratic is through the polling booths. The other way is revolution but because we are heterogeneous to a fault here, that option is dead. A bad government is not removed through show of dissent on social media but through a dissent at the polling units. You don’t change leadership by only being a social media warrior. If you can’t live your words you are coward. You will encounter long queues and other annoying behaviour from the INEC staff around your LGA but don’t let them piss you off enough to deny yourself your constitutional right. You will meet people who are there to discourage others from voting, don’t keep quiet when they run their mouth. There is no wisdom or greater good in keeping quiet when that character destroys unformed minds. Most importantly, there is no sense in remaining neutral when your future is at stake.

About Poet 171 Articles
I am Rey Alaetuo, a conscious Poet and health care professional living in Owerri, Nigeria. I am an exponent of humanism and a vigilant Poet. I am deeply interested in the propagation of positive human values and behaviour.