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Do PVCs expire? All you need to know about Nigeria’s Permanent Voters’ Cards

Come 2023, Nigeria will hold its next general election. With the elections drawing near and several candidates already declaring their intention to run for presidency, it is expected that different claims will surface on this important subject. 

A recent claim by one of the presidential aspirants under the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is one such pre-election claim. 

On Wednesday January 19, 2022, The Cable shared a trending video which showed the APC chieftain asking a delegation of APC women to get new PVCs as the current ones have expired. 

In the one short video the APC chieftain said “….they may not announce to you on time, the PVC you have has expired”.

Screenshot of the viral video

However, a quick check by The Cable debunked this claim, noting the PVC does not carry an expiry date. INEC also reacted to this claim noting all PVCs issued in recent years remain valid for all elections conducted by the commission. 

Subsequently on Thursday, Bola Tinubu apologised in a statement by his Media Aide, Tunde Rahman, explaining his principal used the word ‘expire’ instead of saying the cards may have to be updated or revalidated.

What are PVCs?

A Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is a smart card with an electronic chip that stores information such as biometric data (physical attributes, thumbprint, etc.) and protects the information stored in it. The PVCs are electronically programmed and can only be read  or assessed electronically with a card reader.

The PVC enables registered voters to exercise their civic right to vote in elections in Nigeria.

This card contains the passport of the voter, polling unit code, Voter Identification Number (VIN), Local Government Area (LGA) of registration, name of voter, date of birth of voter, occupation of voter, address of voter and the gender. 

Behind the card is the first name of the voter and his or her VIN, the date of registration, the batch, and the serial number.

No detail of the PVC shows an expiration date.

Image of the PVC 
Image of the PVC

How to get a PVC

Before you can register for your PVC, you must be a citizen of Nigeria, you must have attained the age of eighteen (18) years and must work in or originate from a LGA council and ward covered by the registration officers of the commission for registration as a voter. You must also be free from any incapacity to vote under any law in Nigeria. 

After meeting these requirements, you can then present yourself to a registration officer of the commission for registration as a voter or start the process online on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) Portal.

Note: There are rights and responsibilities of a voter which must be properly understood by the voter to avoid breaching the law. 

To begin your registration online, visit INEC’s CVR portal and click on “Get Started”. This will lead to the different services offered by the website.

Screenshot of the CVR website.

On the CVR website, a new voter can pre-register online, and an old registered voter can review his or her registration. You can also request to update your information or transfer your voter registration to another polling unit.

The continuous registration of voters started in 2017 as one of the ways to make voter registration easier, more accessible, and user-friendly not only to prospective registrants, but also to registered voters.

This is aimed at decongesting registration centres, reducing delays, and allowing prospective registrants to schedule appointments and monitor their applications from the comfort of their homes.

After pre-registering, the voter can follow up at a physical registration site. Click here to find which registration site is closest to you. 

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