In this post we will be looking at meaning of PVC and what it is used for, Independent National Electoral Commission and Voter registration.
In spite of the rating of Nigeria today by neighbors and the International Community, Nigeria has remained the giant of Africa to be reckoned with, any day. Even when Ghanaians are seriously wishing they could twist the hand of the clock and coin “Nigeria must go,” as Nigerians once coined: “Ghana must go,” the situation has been quintessential and that has never come to pass. The reason for this is because Nigerians as a people are the most intelligent, creative, hardworking, industrious and entertaining people anywhere in the world. More so, Nigeria is blessed in many ways with varied resources unlike most African countries. I have always considered it a thing of pride when one listens to intelligent individuals discussing a range of issues on the traditional and social media on topics bothering on the level of business acumen of ingenious Nigerians. You get to see the spirit of Nigerians ordained by God from creation – the focus, determination, zeal and enterprise of Nigerians have been pronounced wherever they find themselves. It is that same spirit that people talk about Africa or Africans, where Nigerians are described in very elevated ways. Despite this standpoint, when counting the list of corrupt and fraudulent people in the world, Nigerians are left out. The reason for this annoying disparity lies in the pain of a nation’s leadership and its people that doesn’t seem to make any real headway in the quality of life that the citizens get. Something very precious, such as the innate kindness, generosity and love of people is set apart from the people by its leadership, making things go awry in most services rendered to its citizens, which translates to all kinds of bad antecedents.
WHAT IS PVC?
PVC is a plastic material that is used for many purposes, for example to make clothing or shoes or to cover chairs. PVC is an abbreviation for ‘polyvinyl chloride’. The Permanent Voters Card (PVC) enables registered voters exercise their civic right to vote in the General Elections. The PVC stores information such as biometric data i.e., physical attributes, thumbprint, etc. It protects the information stored in the card. The information on the PVCs is electronically programmed and can only be read /assessed electronically with a card reader.
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION
Regulation and administration of elections
The administration of democratic elections in Nigeria dates back to the period before Independence when the Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) was inaugurated in 1958 to conduct the 1959 federal elections. Prior to 1958, regional laws and government regulated and conducted elections. ECN was headed by an expatriate, Ronald Edward Wraith and four Nigerian members representing each region and the Federal Capital Territory of Lagos. The Federal Electoral Commission (FEC), established in 1960 conducted the immediate post-independence federal and regional elections of 1964 and 1965. Prior to the conduct of the 1964 election, the Chief Electoral Officer, Kofo Abayomi resigned and some party officials from the NCNC and Action Group doubted the credibility of a free and fair election. The electoral body was dissolved after the military coup of 1966 in Nigeria. In 1978, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) was constituted by the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, organizing the elections of 1979 which ushered in the Nigerian Second Republic under the leadership of Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It also conducted the general elections of 1983. In December 1995, the military government under the leadership of general Sani Abacha established the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria which conducted another set of elections. These elected institutions were not inaugurated before the sudden death of General Abacha in June 1998 aborted the process. In 1998, General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s Administration dissolved National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) and established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). INEC organized the transitional elections that ushered in the Nigerian Fourth Republic on May 29, 1999. In January 2015, the “#BringBackOurGirls group raised the alarm over plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to exclude Chibok and some communities currently under the control of the Boko Haram from getting the permanent voter cards (PVCs) for the February elections.”
General Abdulsalami Abubakar established the current INEC, with Justice Ephraim Akpata as chairman. Akpata had to deal with 26 political associations, giving only nine provisional registration as political parties for the 1998–1999 elections, eventually whittled down to three parties. Despite efforts to ensure free and fair elections, the process drew serious criticism from international observers. After Akpata died in January 2000, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Abel Guobadia Nigeria’s Chief Electoral Officer, a position that was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate in May 2000. Guobadia was responsible for the 2003 elections, which were marred by widespread violence and other irregularities. In June 2005, Guobadia retired and was succeeded by Professor Maurice Iwu. Soon after being appointed, Iwu announced that foreign monitors would not be allowed during elections, but only foreign election observers. This decision was condemned by politicians and civil society groups who called for his immediate removal from office. The conduct of the 2007 elections was again criticized as falling below acceptable democratic standards. On 8 June 2010, Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega was nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan as the new INEC Chairman, subject to Senate confirmation, as a replacement for Iwu, who had vacated the post on 28 April 2010. Jega’s nomination as INEC chairman followed approval by a meeting of the National Council of State called by President Jonathan and attended by former heads of state Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Ernest Shonekan, Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Shagari. The Senate President David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives Oladimeji Bankole, and most of the state Governors also attended the meeting. Unanimous approval by the council of the nominee for this critical appointment avoided controversy about whether or not the President should appoint the chairman of the INEC. Reactions to the announcement from a broad spectrum of political leaders and organizations were positive, although some voiced concern that it could be too late to implement real reforms before the 2011 elections. During the campaign for the 2015 Nigerian general elections, Attahiru Jega “faced fierce criticism from both the opposition and the ruling party.” Attahiru Jega’s five-year term came to an end on June 30, 2015, and though he was qualified for re-appointment, the chances of such became remote given the allegations of bias against him by campaign officials of President Goodluck. President Mohammadu Buhari appointed Professor Mahmood Yakubu as INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu took over from Amina Bala-Zakari, who was the acting chairman after Jega left.
In electoral systems, voter registration (or enrollment) is the requirement that a person otherwise eligible to vote must register (or enroll) on an electoral roll, which is usually a prerequisite for being entitled or permitted to vote. The rules governing registration vary between jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions, registration is an automatic process performed by extracting the names of voting age residents of a precinct from a general-use population registry ahead of election day, while in others, registration may require an application being made by an eligible voter and registered persons to re-register or update registration details when they change residence or other relevant information changes. Some jurisdictions have “election day registration” and others do not require registration, or may require production of evidence of entitlement to vote at time of voting. In jurisdictions where registration is not mandatory, an effort may be made to encourage persons otherwise eligible to vote to register, in what is called as a voter registration drive. In countries where resident registration is compulsory, voter registration usually does not exist, since voter eligibility can be determined from the residence register. Even in countries where registration is the individual’s responsibility, many reformers, seeking to maximize voter turnout, argue for a wider availability of the required forms, or more ease of process by having more places where they can register. The United States, for example, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“Motor Voter Law”) and similar laws require states to offer voter registration at motor vehicle departments (driver’s license offices) as well as disability centers, public schools, and public libraries, in order to offer more access to the system. State authorities are also required to accept mail-in voter registrations. Many jurisdictions also offer online registrations.