Why Ndi Anambra Must get their PVCs: A commentary
One of the major confirmations of an individual's attainment of full citizenship rights is his ability to vote and be voted for in the electoral process of any country. The right to vote is quite often referred to as the Universal adult suffrage. Yes, the right to vote of every citizen of every country that is of legal age. In Nigeria and many other counties, Universal adult suffrage is pegged at the age of 18 years. However like in the coming of age rites and initiation in Igboland, one is required to fulfill certain conditions in order to fully exercise the right to vote - You have to be registered in order to be able to vote.
At no time is this important requirement imperative for all adults in Nigeria and indeed Anambra State than now. Graciously, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) graciously extended the deadline for the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC), from the previous January 31st to Sunday February 8, 2015 to enable registered voters yet to collect the PVCs, the opportunity to do so in readiness for the February 2015 general elections. What this simply means is that those who are of age and are not registered have lost the opportunity for now until after the elections, but those already registered can collect their card in readiness for voting on the election days.
According to INEC records, Anambra State has over 1.7 million registered voters, and in line with the new system participation by all the duly registered voters in the coming elections is hinged on the ownership of PVC. Unfortunately, there is serious course for worry that a good number of the registered voters in Anambra State and other parts of the country are yet to collect their PVCs, hence the latest extension of the deadline by INEC.
INEC has designated the collection of PVCs at the Wards or Registration areas. However, it has been noted that some duly registered persons who have lost their permanent voters card are also reluctant to turn-up for the collection. The fact is that you do not necessarily need to have your temporary voters card in order to pick up your PVC. If possible, you should bring another form of ID in case you are asked for proof of identity, but it should not be required. The major requirement is that your name appeared on the voter register and that it can be authenticated
Now that INEC is in the final stages of the distribution of PVCs. It behooves on all and sundry to join hands in the ongoing sensitization across communities to ensure that most, if not all registered voters are able to perform the civic responsibility of casting their vote during the elections. Ndi Anambra should not dither over the importance of the forth-coming elections and the need to obtain the only instrument that enables one determine the quality of leadership at all levels of governance in Nigeria.
It is heart-warming that the Executive governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano and his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has been in the vanguard of the mobilization of Ndi Anambra of voting age to collect the PVC. In apparent display of a sense of duty and nonpartisan zeal, the Obiano's have made the call for Ndi Anambra to go and collect their PVCs a mantra in most of their public functions since the exercise commenced. This is without prejudice to the notifications through various media of mass communications.
In the same vein we urge the Local Government Chairmen, Councilors, President Generals of the various town unions and royal fathers, the clergy and leadership of markets across the state and all men and women of goodwill to lend their voices and logistics support to INEC officials where necessary, to ensure that the PVCs are collected by the owners.
This is the time for new adults amongst Ndi Anambra to actualize their dreams of having the power to vote people of their choice, just as the regular voters would ensure that they are ready to vote too. That way we would elect men of character who will give us quality representation at all levels, and work for the consolidation of the giant strides of the state government. All told, we must make sure that those whose names are in the voters' register collect their Permanent Voter Cards before the deadline. The time to act is now!
Ozumba, a public affairs commentator writes from Enugwu-Ukwu