Did you get your PVC yet? The Permanent Voter Card? Well if you haven’t, then get up on your feet, arm yourself with a fistful of resolve, thick sunglasses and a healthy dose of patience and hit the queue!
What matters is that we all- Nigerians above the age of 18- must exercise our civic responsibility. We must stand up and be counted if we want our voices to be heard even if from the voters line right in front of that your Aboki’s indomie shop.
I was up bright and early, gave my dog a bath, made a quick breakfast all the while thinking “gosh, the line for voter’s registration is increasing”. I couldn’t find the temporary voter’s card from the 2011 registrations and so I armed myself with my newly obtained drivers’ license (Another temporary card; Nigeria we hail thee) and made my way to the venue… it was just right outside my street anyway.
I get there and join the sprawling queue after checking the notice to ensure that my name and that of my husband featured as expected. It was, Hallelujah!
I wasn’t under any illusions that this exercise would be hitch free. How could it? “na naija we dey naaa” and so I was ready for it. I decided I would bite my tongue, stand my ground and get this done. The three adhoc INEC staff administering the cards were not so bad until I heard one of them say to someone; “ëh if you buy us coke to take cool our body e no go bad”. Ha! Typical naija. Was he not paid for the job already? It was clear to everyone on the queue that the officials would jump at any opportunity to make a quick buck from anyone who was vulnerable and fell prey. I wasn’t about to entertain any of that. Anyway, soon as it got to the lady right before me, the INEC lady said in a shrill, harassed voice “if you don’t have your temporary card, you have to fill this form (she waved a rumpled form above her head) but we only have one left so you have to go and make copies and bring my copy back to me. Sheeesh, imagine that. Anyway, I remembered “bite my tongue, stand my ground” and so I walked five streets down the road to make photocopies for 20 bucks a piece and dutifully walked back to take my place on the queue. It was either that or lose my space, go back home and search for my temporary card.
The officials could have told us what to expect. A small announcement that could be made once or twice and then repeated to any other newcomers by the people already privy to the information would have gone a long way; instead they let us get to the front of the queue and then dish out the directive. They could have made enough copies of the form available for people, heck they could have had us register online. But this is Nigeria and everything just has to be tough! If it ain’t tough, we are wary of it!
Oh well, in another three minutes, I sashayed happily away from the small crowd with my brand new voter’s registration card.
Ahem…Fellow Nigerians, let us do our bit for this dear country that we co-own; she desperately needs her people now more than ever. Let us make our vote count…I’ll be voting individual not party, by the way…
Bring it on February 2015, we are waiting!!!!
About the author: Adaora Ude is an avid reader and writer. She has been writing stories and other materials since her childhood. She is a creative and energetic individual with a vivid immagination. She possesses a quirky sense of humor which is evident in her writing. Ada works as a Pension Fund Administrator with Pensions Alliance Limited (PAL) one of the foremost pension managers in the country today and it is no wonder that one of her most favorite topics to write about is the dirge of financial literacy and lack of saving culture prevalent in our community today. She writes about almost anything she feels passionately about so long as it draws attention, heightens awareness and gets you thinking; be it social, economic, political, cultural or domestic issues. Adaora is married and lives in Lagos, Nigeria