The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has bowed to intense public pressure across the country concerning this week’s June 30 deadline for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), confirming its extension.
The Commission’s Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the extension Saturday at the Youth Vote Count Concert at the old parade ground, Abuja, did not however state how long the extension will last.
Designed to mobilize youths across the state for the ongoing nationwide CVR exercise, the awareness rally was organized by INEC in partnership with the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) and YIAGA Africa.
Assuring the Nigerians that their votes will count in every election in the country, Yakubu promised to ensure that the 2023 general elections will be the best poll ever conducted.
Addressing the crowd of young people, the INEC chairman disclosed that contrary to reports, the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) for the ongoing CVR exercise will begin in October, this year.
“The youths want to know when the registration will end. I want to assure you on behalf of the commission that the registration won’t end on June 30. As long as we have you people trying to register, we will continue to register you. In the last five days, we have registered over 14,000 Nigerians in this place alone. We have about 50 voter registration machines,” he noted to the cheering of the gathered youths.
Continuing, he promised: “also, by next Monday, we will deploy more machines to register Nigerians. We won’t stop registration until we are satisfied that those who wish to register are given the opportunity to do so.
“When will your PVCs be ready for collection? PVCs will be ready for collection latest by October this year-long before the election. I want to thank you for making the PVCs the most popular Identification Card,” he commended.
Yakubu further urged the youths to ensure that they used the PVCs for the purpose it is meant for, stressing; “not just for opening of bank accounts.”
He assured the registrants that their votes will count in all elections, assuring that “Ekiti governorship poll is good, Osun will be better and 2023 general elections will be the best. Your votes will count. For those who are yet to register, kindly do so to vote.”
The head of the EU delegation to Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Samuela Isopi, who spoke earlier, charged the youths not to sell their votes, reminding them that they have the numbers to drive positive change.
“This is the start of a great change. We can feel the energy. Nigerians are mobilising and there is this feeling that this time they are ready to be drivers of change. You have the power to drive positive change. Get your PVC and use it. Your votes will count and don’t give up your power. Don’t sell your votes because if you sell your votes, you sell your future.