2023 Polls; Why Benue May Record Low Turnout Amidst 93% PVC Collection.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said that 87 million Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have been collected by Nigerians in preparation for the February 25th Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The commission also disclosed that about 6 million PVCs are yet to be collected. 

Although the numbers of PVCs holders and vote-ready Nigerians might have increased compared with 2019 when only 72 Million PVCs were collected, they are some indices that may slur political participation across the country.

Tarza Joel, 47, of Apir Ugondo of Makurdi Local Government of Benue is one of the over 2 million  Benue citizens who have collected their PVCs and are ready to vote in the coming elections, However, the chances that Tarza would vote are minimal.

Tarza Joel is a father of three with disabilities who earns a living through shoemaking. He lamented how the cash swap has been unfriendly to him in the middle of fuel scarcity, which is a factor that could put him out of his polling unit.

“Accessing cash over the past five days has been a daunting task. Just yesterday, I went to the market to purchase foodstuffs. Sadly, I returned with nothing because the transfer I initiated was not successful. Even when I asked to purchase it in advance, it was rejected.” He lamented. 

For someone like Tarza moving from place to place on election day is just as vital as casting a ballot, but the chances are limited because of the high expense of transportation and the lack of physical cash.

Like Tarza,  Paul Agana, 37, an entrepreneur from Oju Local Government who resides in Makurdi has been unable to access  cash despite waiting at the banks for days

Paul accused the government and its policy implementation of disenfranchising him.

“At this point, I am right to say that the government has disenfranchised me of my civic right to vote in an election.” He said.

He continued, “I should have been in my hometown in Oju LG, getting ready to cast my vote. But here am I, trapped in the middle of nowhere when others are deciding the fate of the country. 

Security Concerns

Achin Mathias 28, from Yalewata in Guma Local said that his greatest fear has been the security of the electorate before,

during, and after the elections in his community 

“Although the past two weeks have been  relatively peaceful with the presence of security personnels, Going for elections tomorrow, the lives of the electorate should matter the most. 

He suggests that more security measures like tech based security apparatus would boost the “confidence level of the electorates.” Achin told TheMiddleBelt Reporters. 

He continued, “For me, I will be going to cast my vote but I will be doing it with fear because of apprehension of attack as it has happened before elections,” he said 

The Nigerian Police force through the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba has revealed that a total of 425,105 personnels will be deployed nationwide for the election 

The Nigerian Police, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the Nigerian Correctional Service, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigeria Immigration Service are among the organizations from which personnels are drawn, according to him 

The police revealed that there are 310,973 police officers, 51,000 members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense, 21,000 members of the Federal Road Safety Corps, 11,336 members of the Nigerian Correctional Service, 9,447 members of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, 350 members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and 21,000 members of the Nigeria Immigration

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Jairus Awo

Jairus Awo is a Nigeiran Muiltimedia public interest journalist. He believes in the power of the media as a catalyst to development and societal growth. You can tip him an idea on [email protected]

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