2023: Nigerians demand immediate extension of PVC registration, threaten mass protest


 

As the deadline for the Continuous Voters Registration, CVR elapsed yesterday, Nigerians who were unable to get captured have appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to extend the exercise.

Saga Gist reports that several registration centers were flooded by anxious Nigerians on Sunday to beat the deadline which was issued by the electoral body on June 25.

Recall that INEC had extended the exercise from June 30 to July 31 2022, to enable eligible Nigerians to apply for the Permanent Voter’s Card ahead of the 2023 general elections.

However, despite the extension of the service to churches and other places in a bid to aid the registration, many Nigerians are yet to get registered.

When visited some centers in Abuja on Sunday, intending voters were raging in anger, alleging that there are plots to disenfranchise some Nigerians.

One of the angered PVC applicants, Mr Ojo K.T, who spoke with our correspondent in Kubwa CVR centre, said he had been trying to register since Monday.

He said, “I think they just don’t want us to vote. Look at the people that are going to be denied the opportunity to participate in the election. What is wrong in this country?

“If you look around, you will notice that most of us here that have been here since 3am this morning are youths. They are afraid of the revolution that is coming and that is why they are deliberately pushing us away”.

According to him, the only language the President Mummadu Buhari’s government understands is protest, saying “we must hit the street to demand the extension of the exercise. It is our right to vote and nobody should violate that right”.

Saga Gist had reported that some of the centers lack adequate equipment for the exercise.

In Bwari INEC office, only two computers were seen despite the crowd thronging the center since the exercise commenced.

Also speaking with newsmen, President General of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem lamented how several Southeast residents were unable to register during the exercise.

He said, “The 2022 voters’ registration exercise looks like a calculated attempt by some politicians to deny the people of Southeast the opportunity of registering for their voter’s card”.

According to him, the Southeast was deliberately deprived of adequate equipment for the exercise, alleging that the situation is different in parts of the North.

“In the North, we are very aware that the INEC provided sufficient and adequate registration materials for the exercise”, he added.

Similarly, an activist, Adetunji Abiola told our correspondent that the failure of the electoral body to extend the registration exercise may cause mass protest across the country.

He said, “Now that Nigerian youths want to fully participate in elections for the first time, we have been denied the opportunity to do that. I can tell you that over a million Nigerian youths are going to be disenfranchised if we don’t act on time.

“We give this government at least a week to reopen the INEC portal for more registration or they may force us to the street so that the international community can come to our aid”.

However, the INEC National Commissioner, Voter Education and Publicity, Barr. Festus Okoye had in a chat with journalists in Awka, Anambra State capital on Saturday, ruled out the possibility of extending the exercise.

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