Under-Age Voter Registration, Prosecutable Child Rights Abuse

1 month ago

It is not right to stop the Voter Registration PVC capture exercise for any reason at all, except corruption or imminent election, and definitely not so long before the election. Nigeria claims a questionable population figure of 200 million and the more realistic one of 160million taking into account a 20-40%, average 30% politicised and economic advantage ‘Ghost Citizens’ inflation of populations in LGAs and states.

Statisticians can use the acceptable population statistics to answer the question: ‘How many Nigerian youth become 18 every day, every month and every year?’ This answer is essential, as it will arm INEC as to numbers of new young voter registration figures to expect when those youth who were 14/15/16/17 at the last election in 2019 are now 18/19/20/21 years old and qualified, entitled and actively encouraged to register to vote.

We must remember that age is the only criterion. And this figure does not consider older apathetic and migrant Nigerians seeking to register, but it is a huge positive start. INEC’s deadline has certainly energised political parties, social and religious and even governments and private sector to encourage its young workforce, and its older politically-negligent class to register before the deadline.

Great. The PVC is now weaponised; the right outcome for the wrong reason, PVC obtained because of fear of sanction, not patriotism and the necessity of ‘Citizen Participation’.Voter registration has been made a big deal by politicians and INEC. Instead, it should have been ingrained in the education system at secondary and tertiary level as a motivational means of separating age grades — ‘18 and above vs below 18 by election day’.

Should PVC be introduced as the most valid form of ID at 18? Not everyone has the skill or opportunity to get driving licence and may not be in the type of employment which issues an ID Card. But every Nigerian 18 year old can and should own a PVC. Yes, it is a big deal in countries where votes count legally and age and nationality disqualifications exist against under-aged and non-nationals being criminally registered.

Everyone is shouting about the child rights and under-aged trafficking and organ trafficking abuse that seems to be apparent in the Ekweremadu matter. And so they should be shouting if the case is as first presented. But is it as it seems? There is a lot of conflicting information out at the moment? Several agencies face questions. Even if the child is not a child and was actually 18 or 21years, is he a fit person, knowledgeable, to make such a life-influencing decision as giving up a kidney? Were his family members involved, on board and fully informed? Did they have the right to make such a decision for a person aged whatever his age comes out as when interrogated?

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