The European Union (EU) delegation to Nigeria says it is partnering with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure youths get their permanent voter cards (PVCs) to enhance the country’s democratic process.
Speaking on Tuesday at a media briefing in Abuja, Laolu Olawunmi, EU programme manager, Democracy and Rule of Law, said the “youth vote count” campaign is to ensure youths get their PVCs and vote.
Olawunmi said though many young people have their PVCs, they do not come out to vote.
“The EU has been a strong major partner of the Nigerian government, particularly since the return to democracy in 1999. We have quite an array of programmes in a development portfolio and one of our flagship programmes is in support to democratic governance. One of the things we like to highlight in that programme is very locally led, very Nigerian driven and it is unique in that sense,” she said.
“Over the last couple of years, we have tried to answer an important question and it is ‘how do we get young people to be involved in the political process?’
“If you look at the data from INEC, we have a high number of young people in terms of our population but that doesn’t translate to engagement in the political process.
“That question is what we tried to answer as to why we came up with the campaign, ‘youth vote count’, in 2018. The campaign is to connect young people with centres of power, to get them proactive in the government process, and to begin to shift government and perception of young people.
“We are trying to get the young people to get their PVCs, collect the cards when they are ready, and for them to come out and vote.”
Olawunmi said the EU is organising a “youth vote count” concert in Abuja, in collaboration with INEC and YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation (CSO).
On his part, Bello Yahaya, resident electoral commissioner (REC) in the federal capital territory (FCT), said 150 officials would be deployed to the venue of the concert for those seeking to get their PVCs.
Asked if INEC is going to obey an order of court directing the commission not to stop voter registration by June 30, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said the electoral body has a history of complying with court verdicts.
“The commission has a history of complying with court order, that I can assure you,” Oyekanmi said.
“I understand from the court papers that the commission was asked to come on the 29th of this month to submit certain documents.
“We are going to do that, but remember that once a matter is in court, it is sub judice to talk about it.”