The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday frowned that over 20 million Permanent Voters’ Cards (CVR) are still lying unclaimed in its vault.
The Commission equally expressed worries over the poor participation of citizens in the ongoing continuous voters’ registration exercise.
INEC’s Deputy Director, Voter Education, Mrs Mary Nkem, raised these concerns during the launch of the PVC Bus Drive project, put together by a non-governmental organisation, the Advocacy for Civic Engagement, in Abuja.
She called on Nigerians, chiefly the youths, to actively participate in electoral processes and during voting periods to elect new leaders that will give room to true change and move the country forward.
According to Nkem, votes not social media will determine the winners of the 2023 general elections.
She said, “This CVR exercise began on the 30th of June, 2021, but we have discovered that between that time and a few weeks ago, the turnout has been relatively low.
“If the youths in this country would come out en masse to cast their votes, we will no longer be recording 15 or 20 percent voter turnout in our elections, because we know that the population of the youths alone can make a difference.
“The youths no longer visit the social media, they basically live there today. Therefore, when you want to reach out to them, you must go to where you will meet them – social media.
“However, I will like to say that INEC does not conduct an election on social media neither do we count ballots on Twitter or Instagram.
“Our ballots are counted in the ballot box. It is only the ballot paper that enters into the ballot box that the Commission counts.
“So, what does that mean? It means that on election day people must go out to cast their votes. For you to be able to do so, you must be a registered voter and in possession of a PVC.”
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Advocacy for Civic Engagement, Barr. Obinna Osisiogu, said that the PVC Bus Drive Project would support at least 60 per cent of eligible young voters to register, collect their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote in the 2023 elections.
He said the project was initiated to eliminate the logistical barriers hindering some Nigerians, particularly those residing in rural areas from participating in the ongoing CVR exercise and collecting of their PVCs thereafter.