Voter Registration: ‘Extension will hamper election preparations’ – INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says extending the voter registration exercise will hamper its preparations for the 2023 general elections.

This is according to the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mike Igini, who spoke during an interview on Channels TV.

“Now that we have officially suspended the CVR process, we have to merge, aggregate the data and thereafter run the biometric accreditation system to weed out all multiple registrants,” he said during the breakfast show on Friday.

“After that, Section 19 [Electoral Act 2022] says we must do a one-week display of the voter register for the Commission to accept claims; objections as it relates to either omitted names or names of individuals that ought not to be on that register as identified by people in the area.

“And how do you do that? Produce the preliminary register of voters for this purpose, meaning they have to be millions of these would-be voters. That will be posted in the entire wards and local governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that is a huge work.”

READ ALSO: 2023: INEC suspends voter registration exercise 

He explained that the electoral umpire would also produce and distribute the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to the new registrants after this.

“So, there is a lot to be done,” he said, noting that Section 17 of the Electoral Act only mandates the Commission to stop voter registration less than and not precisely 90 days to the election.

Aside from this, he said, “it is not only this that INEC will be doing.”

Igini said Nigerians should instead be concerned about voter turnout in the next election despite the outcry that greeted the registration suspension.

“What gives spice to the practice of democracy is mass participation,” the INEC official said.

The INEC REC expressed satisfaction with Nigerians’ recent wave of enthusiasm in the electoral process, likening it to what happened in the country in the 1993 poll.

Before his comment, the electoral body had suspended voter registration on July 31, saying 12 million persons were newly registered.

A breakdown of the data showed that about 71 percent of the newly registered voters are youths. It also showed that 8.7 million are between the ages of 18 and 34, while about 2.4 million are between ages 35 and 49.

 

XtraNews/S.O

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