By Ibukun Oluwafunmi
The last time I witnessed the collective efforts of Nigerian youths without prejudice was during the EndSars protest in October 2020, and I believe the 2023 elections is about to be a replay of that event. Yes, I am young, but I have never witnessed this level of public awareness and sensitization over Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) among the youths, simply because we all desire better for ourselves and for the nation. Meanwhile, many sensitisation programmes are currently running to educate young Nigerians on the significance of their PVC and how it can make a difference for posterity’s sake.
For the second time in the past two years, Nigerian youths are fighting for a better Nigeria. We are fighting against anything that makes us unhappy as a nation, including injustice, corruption, terrorism and more.
I am going to begin to sound like the “perspire to aspire motivational speakers” because I am convinced of what we can do and I will shout it. Whether we like it or not, we can accomplish so much if we take the initiative to advance this nation. If we really can aspire for a better future, we shouldn’t be dismayed or deterred by the current events or even second-guess our stance. Given the result of the EndSars protest, rebuilding our beloved nation shouldn’t be seen as yet another mirage. Let’s start by obtaining our PVC. The participation so far has been encouraging, but there is still so much to be done. Every young Nigerian should have a PVC as a matter of necessity. Some may think that the odds that our votes will count are quite slim. But consider how much of a difference it will make if over 33 million Nigerian youths rise up to the challenge. Good thing no actual deadline for PVC registration has been confirmed. However, you can visit the nearest local government office in your area to register.
Little drops of water make a mighty ocean. Let’s not relent in creating more awareness for a better future for Nigeria and, most importantly, about getting our PVC.
Here’s how to make a difference in your little corner of the world:
1. Friends that vote together, stay together
Do your friends have similar levels of enthusiasm or are they deliberately oblivious to what is happening? You can change the situation by making your friends aware of the problem. Give instances of why voting is important in 2023 – bring out your inner motivational speaker. Remind them that ‘absconding’ in pursuit of greener pastures is not going to solve all the problems because what will become of their loved ones who lack the resources to leave? If possible, do more and talk less – gather your friends together, decide on a day to get your PVCs as a solidarity group and ensure that everyone is motivated and encouraged throughout the procedures. Keep in mind that until we go out and get what we desire, we can only hope for it.
2.Use your creative prowess to make a change
According to the popular saying, people will remember you more for how you made them feel than for what you said. That’s true. Who says you can’t leverage your talent or expertise to inspire people to cast votes? As a nation, we are at a sober period where we require all the support we can get to rebuild Nigeria. We can all use our creativity to get the word out there, irrespective of whether we are comedians, content creators, influencers, business owners, or even 9–5ers. Take a cue from this brilliant idea presented by Basketmouth and other comedians if you are unsure about what to do.
3. Do not underestimate the power of volunteerism
This saying ‘put your money where your mouth is’ literally speaks to supporting your words with action volunteering in any aspect, whether for the government or your preferred candidate, make sure your input counts. Not to go into full details, but you can organise sensitization programmes in less-developed areas where they are more concerned about their daily bread rather than good governance. You can also mobilise people with shared interests to lead a rally to support your candidate. Finally, look into becoming an ad hoc staff towards 2023 elections to ensure a free and fair election. I hope this can give you a general overview of the many areas where you can volunteer your time, energy, and resources.
4.Sound the alarm on social media
Social media has a reputation for serving as a journal of our lives. It is where we showcase to the world that we are “living our best lives.” Let’s make an effort to prove to the world that as a nation we deserve better. For instance, host Twitter spaces where people of similar interests can share knowledge. Create an Instagram reels video detailing the steps you took to obtain your PVC. Interact with your followers on Instagram Live to explain how to get their PVCs without hassles, or host a roundtable discussion on Facebook about a better future for young Nigerians.
These are merely off-the-cuff suggestions; there are more methods to raise the alarm on our various platforms. Just give it some thought and decide what works best for you. The year 2023 cannot leave us in shambles… We refuse!
Ibukun Oluwafunmi is a PR consultant and writer based in Lagos