Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, I humbly welcome you to this very important joint Press Conference by the undersigned Civil Society Organisations. This briefing couldn’t have come at a better time due to the exigency of the situation, especially at this critical period in our electoral democracy.
In exactly 17 days, June 30th 2022, the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) will be suspended by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to clean up its data and print Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ahead of the 2023 general elections. This is preceded by the online pre-registration portal that closed on May 31st, 2022.
We have witnessed an unprecedented surge in the number of Nigerians coming to get registered. Given that we have barely three weeks, we welcome the news that INEC is considering extending the deadline for the registration. We add our voices to the call for the extension of the deadline and also hope that the extension will be accompanied with the decision to decentralise the registration exercise to the WARD level and extension of the registration days to the weekends.
As an organisation, we cannot overemphasise the importance of getting registered and collecting your Permanent Voters Card (PVC) within the appropriate timeframe to enable us to have a say on the people and policies that govern us.
We strongly urge that citizens use all available means to ensure they are fully registered and for those already registered, to make sure they collect their Permanent Voters Card if and when available. We also call on citizens to sustain the level of interest and participation beyond the CVR exercise to all other activities in the electoral process ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
Missing out or non-participation in any of these activities is not just a disservice to self but also a disservice to generations yet unborn. However, this can only be possible by first making sure we participate in the ongoing CVR process.
It is also imperative to remind Nigerians that the ongoing CVR is not just for citizens who have just turned 18 or have never registered. The process is also a platform for citizens to transfer their registration from one location to a preferable one while enabling registered voters to apply for a replacement for damaged or lost PVC.
We recommend the various initiatives to mobilise Nigerians of voting age to get registered to vote. This must be sustained beyond the CVR process to ensure people also collect their PVCs and come out to vote on elections day.
We call on INEC to develop interpersonal communication channels to engage Nigerians with information around the CVR, especially citizens whose registration has been flagged as invalid, while providing time for affected citizens to review and update their registrations. The commission should generally improve its technology deployment to harness its optimum utility further ahead of the General elections in 2023.
We also call on the Federal Government to declare a public holiday as a National Day of Action to encourage people to get registered. We urged private organisations to give days off to employees to find time and register or even facilitate their logistics from the office to the nearest registration centres.
We appreciate the National Labour Congress for developing a demand charter, and we urged them to complement such an effort by mobilising all their members to register and vote.
Brain Builders Development Initiative is delighted to announce our #ShowyourPVC innovative social media campaign primarily for young people, where registered voters will be required to post a picture or video of themselves holding their PVC while challenging their peers to do the same. Participants in this contest stand a chance to win great prizes, including smartphones. This challenge aims to encourage peer-to-peer voter mobilisation by deploying social media platforms at the twilight of the CVR process.
Application for the YVote Naija CivicTech Hackathon 2022 ($5000 Grant) (universegist.com) is now open. The hackathon is an initiative of Brain Builders Youth Development Initiaitve with support from Christain Aid Nigeria to identify Civic Tech solutions to enhance citizen participation in the electoral process in Nigeria. Young social innovators and developers in Nigeria between the ages of 15 and 35 are encouraged to apply.
We are also in the coming weeks embarking on several voter mobilisation drives to sensitise people on how to get registered to vote and help facilitate the application for the transfer of PVCs or application for the replacement of damaged ones. We are calling the necessary agencies and authorities to be supportive when we come calling.
YVoteNaija is an initiative of Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative which aims at increasing voters’ education through data driven engagement, orienting young Nigerians on the importance of getting involved in the process, especially at the grassroots level.
We acknowledge and appreciate our development partners, Christian Aid in Nigeria, for their unflinching support in achieving our mission of increasing voters’ participation in elections and making the voting process accessible to everyone. Christian Aid has been working in Nigeria since 2003 and has a reputation as an organisation that respects its local partners, delivers quality and cost-effective programmes, and is always willing to learn from and share its learning with others.
Thank you very much
God Bless Nigeria!!
On behalf of the undersigned organisation
Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative
Raising New Voices
Webfala Digital Skills For All Initiative
Building Block for Peace Foundation
Kimpact Development Initiative