In the lead-up to the 2023 elections, SBM surveyed 6,588 respondents mid-way into INEC’s PVC collection time-table to ascertain how Nigerians who desire to vote, and who have completed the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process are faring as regards the collection. The survey’s findings showed that 97% of respondents desire to vote. Of this figure, 94% completed the CVR process (physical capture); 90% tried to pick up their PVCs and 79% successfully picked up their PVCs. This data suggests that more Nigerians are willing to vote in 2023. Crucially, a very significant 43% are first-time voters, mostly young people.

However, in trying to pick up their PVCs, 24% of respondents encountered violence and only 30% were able to get their PVCs the first time they tried. Regarding location, there are more first-time voters in the more urbanised locations like Abuja, Kaduna and Anambra, except in Lagos where the trend is reversed. Also, 42% of respondents were transferring their PVCs, with Lagos and Oyo leading. This indicates success on INEC’s part as regards streamlining the process. Meanwhile, Cross River, Imo and Anambra had the highest number of people registering for PVCs for the first time.

As regards completing physical capture at INEC offices, 30% of the Ebonyi respondents were unable to do so. This correlates with 31% of them saying they have not tried to pick up their PVCs. In addition, 55% of those who tried to pick up their PVCs in Ebonyi were unable to get them, while Anambra’s stood at 42%. Over 30% of the respondents in Ogun, Abuja, Bauchi and Cross River could not pick up their PVCs when they tried, while Rivers and Kaduna had above 20%. These locations require urgent attention from INEC and Civil Society Advocacy groups.

The study showed a trend that the older the respondents, the more successful PVC pick-up attempts they had. INEC needs to be engaged to ascertain why younger applicants are finding it harder to pick up their PVCs despite trying. Also, there was more success at picking up transferred PVCs (87%) than for new PVC registrations (65%). In conclusion, a 79% successful collection rate in this survey is a marked improvement on the 41% recorded in the first survey done in July 2022. Yet the existing gaps highlighted in this survey must be closed in the second half of this PVC collection window to avoid disenfranchising willing Nigerians in 2023.

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