TVC – temporary voter’s card
PVC – permanent voter’s card
The journey to getting my PVC can only be described as high drama, so I will narrate it like the drama that it was.
Act one: scene 1: Opens to my mum & I strolling off to the designated INEC centre a street away from where we lived, we were blissfully unaware that it would be hours before we made it back home. We got to the place & waited our turn, it took ages but we were glad just to get it done.
Time to get our PVCs years later & we head back to the centre where we registered. We stand for ages at the wall that has pictures of people that registered there, we look through the pictures countless times till we’re almost cross-eyed but can’t find our pictures.
The INEC officials search through the PVCs they have, but our cards are nowhere to be found. They tell us to write down our details with a promise to call us to come get our cards if they find them at the INEC office. We wait & do not hear a thing, we head back days later & they tell us we have to repeat the whole registration process as they could not find our PVCs.
We wait till the TVC registration time comes round again & rush to two different INEC centres, there are people waiting but no officials. We return home confused.
A kind neighbour comes around on a Sunday & offers to take us to the centre where he just registered. We get there & join the queue waiting in the scorching heat, the queue hardly appears to be moving thanks to tired people coming & going on the queue ahead of us. I stroll off to a shop close by to buy water, for we are dehydrated & close to falling to the ground. I overhear a boy talking about another centre just a street away where things are moving a little faster. I hurry back to my mum & we hot-foot it to the place & sure enough there’s a small crowd.
We find a place to sit & the waiting continues. An elderly woman that lives in the building being used for the registration process keeps smuggling newcomers into the queue ahead of everyone else, people protest but she shuts us down with excuses like ” can’t you see they are an elderly couple”, “this baba is old & handicapped”, and what can one say when we can all see that they are truly an elderly couple & the other man is both elderly & almost crippled walking with the aid of a stick. I quietly give up my seat to the old man. We finally get registered & pay a token for the lamination of the TVC. More waiting, then we finally get our TVCs. I shake my head when I see my picture. I look like a starved refugee with tired eyes & a sweaty face from all the waiting in the scorching heat. We stagger home exhausted.
Voter’s card chronicles – PVC palaver
Act one : scene 2: TVC in hand, we zoom off to the INEC office, Surulere where we hear the PVCs will be handed out. We are told to come back another day, we get there the next week & are redirected to a nearby primary School. We find the place & settle in to wait for the INEC officials to arrive. They arrive & the crowd grumbles about having to wait in the sun. They tell us to head back to the centres where we registered for our TVCs, promising that their officials would be there shortly to hand out the PVCs, The distrustful crowd considers this new information & people insist on leaving only when they see the official for their centre actually heading out.
The crowd gets noisy & someone threatens to slap an official. The headmistress comes out fuming & threatens to get the INEC officials arrested if they disrupt the school activities, a hot-blooded man gets into a shouting match with her. We wait around for the man going to the street where we registered & offer to drop him off since we are heading there ourselves. He jumps in & we make our way to the street where we are first in line, we get our PVCs & head home thankful that the to-ing & fro-ing is over… at least till election day.