By Suleiman Yakubu



In 2019, all these bickering and hullabaloo about who rules Nigeria will finally be settled during the general elections via the Permanent Voter’s Card, popularly known as the PVC. More still, all these talk about whether President Muhammadu Buhari should re-contest or not; the famous or infamous letters (depending on where you stand) of  generals Olusegun Obasanjo, OBJ, and our own Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB; the myriads of stuffs daily bombarding our senses in social media about the fact that Buhari has performed beyond expectations and others saying he has done well and needed time to consolidate on the ongoing corruption war, would not matter because then there is the PVC to settle the score.

Some are saying that President Buhari is too old or too sick to rule us, while others are saying that we need a man like him, no matter what, to set Nigeria on the right path once and for all. But soon, his health status or age may not matter as it will entirely depend on the almighty PVC to kick him out or retain him.

As you know, it is not only the President’s fate that will be determined by the PVC. Those of governors, senators, members, state legislators among others will all be decided by the PVC.

The importance of the PVC cannot be overemphasized. In fact, if not for the PVC, the famous wind of ‘change’ that saw the emergence of President Buhari and the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) dominating our political scene wouldn’t be possible. Who could have ousted the great People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the largest party in Africa, which have been in power for over a decade and acquired all the imaginable and unimaginable rigging tricks, but the PVC? And the fact that they were unceremoniously dethroned from power by the PVC should make every right thinking leader jittery.

It is now clear that the only way to get to power must be through the PVC. No wonder there has been a lot of clamour by different interest groups, religious organizations, and ethnic groups for their people to go and get it before the forthcoming elections.

Thanks to Prof Attahiru Jega, former INEC chairman, even those who are interested in rigging the elections now know that it has to be done through the PVC. Little wonder we hear of places where under aged persons were registered and given PVCs in preparation for the polls. We also heard and seen on social media insinuations that some foreigners from neighbouring countries were brought in and given PVCs in preparation for 2019. Of course, one can hardly authenticate these stories but this further emphasized the indispensability of the PVC.

Now that the ball is on our court, we must not sell our votes because it may mean selling the progress, peace, and future of our children. Also, we must put all sentiments aside when the time comes to cast our votes.

For instance, it is backward for all Christians to vote for only Christian candidates and for all Muslims to vote for only Muslim candidates. First, this is Nigeria’s president that we are talking about and not a religious one. Second, there are good Christians and bad Christians as there are good Muslims and bad Muslims, are we saying that a man’s integrity, sense of fairness, and qualities of leadership shouldn’t matter? However, one reserves the right to refuse to vote for any leader who carries on as if he is a religious leader or tries to promote his religion at the expense of the other.

Also, it is not doing anyone any good to insist on voting a particular candidate merely because he comes from the same village. It is not true that development will only get to your locality if the man at the helms of affairs is from there. We have seen leaders who have not done anything for their people and others who even kept what was meant for their people for themselves. We see a Buhari who is cleaning up Ogoniland, something that Jonathan, a fellow Niger Deltan, couldn’t do for six years.

What we truly needed at this moment is a truly patriotic and detribalized leader who will deal justly with all Nigerians irrespective of their religious inclinations or where they came from.

Right now the clamour is that youths should be given the opportunity to rule, and I totally agree with it. But does it mean that just any youth is fit to rule Nigeria? No, we must consider the credentials of such a youth before handling the affairs of this great nation and consequently her destiny over him.

There is no question that the PVC is a powerful tool for political change. Still it is limited by the fact that the two political parties with what it takes, in terms of political structure, to win the presidential election and other major political offices remain the APC and PDP; therefore we are stuck with choosing between the candidates they produce. It is not as if we cannot have better parties but it will be difficult to put in place a political party that will have all it takes to clinch national positions within just one year.  At this point we must pray that the candidates that’ll finally emerge as flag bearers for these two parties are people with sterling qualities.

However, now armed with the PVC, we cannot afford, for the sake of Nigeria, to make the wrong decision; especially now that Nigeria is at the precipice. We owe it to our dear nation, to ensure that only the right people get to the seat of power. Therefore, don’t be deceived, don’t vote out of sentiments. Think deeply before you cast your vote.