Voter Registration: House of Reps reverses alleged extension date

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The leadership of the House of Representatives has reversed the 60 days extension allegedly approved by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the extension of the continuous voter registration.

Speaking during a media chat to clarify the media report and INEC response, denying that it has agreed to extend the voter’s registration by 60 days, the Chairperson, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Aisha Dukku, says, “the House in the motion requested for 60 days and that was what we presented to INEC. We are telling you that this is the outcome of the meeting that took place yesterday.

“And INEC is also going to sit and meet based on what the House wants from the Commission. And part of what INEC told the House through the Committee on Electoral Matters is they are going to look at our request.

“However, they cannot open the registration for the next 60 days because of the activities lined up before the general elections.

“They already outlined their activities, and part of their activities is a must.

The cleanup, as the chairman mentioned, is a must. The display of voters’ register is a must; it’s in the electoral law.

They must do it and they need time to do that, to clean-up, to print the voter’s cards, to distribute and to display the register in all the local governments of Nigeria. So there is no confusion whatsoever. Wait for INEC to announce what you want to hear.

“But we didn’t mention today in the House that they’ve (INEC) agreed to 60 days. The motion requested for 60 days.”

In his intervention, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu said that it was important to get the fact right.

” It is important that you hear from the Horse’s mouth. That was why I brought her.

“She is the chairman House Committee on Electoral Matters and I am the mover of the motion and also doubles as the spokesman of the House of Representatives.

“So you can’t get anything more credible on this issue beyond these two people who are standing before you.

“There was never a time the Chairman of the Committee (Hon. Dukku) announced to the House that INEC has extended the registration to 60 days from 30th of June.

“That was a misrepresentation which we don’t know where it’s coming from and we want you to retract for those of you who have published that.

“It never happened but as the mover of the motion, what I put across for the House to consider was for it to be extended for 60 days, having in mind of the 90 days of the publishing of this register and the 90 days of publishing other issues that have to do because many people think it’s only registration that INEC handles.

“There are other responsibilities the Electoral Act has given to INEC. If INEC is asking for other Commission to come out to help them with the job they are doing, It’s a lot of jobs in their hands.

“So if we choke them under that 90 days, we cannot meet up with the logistics that are supposed to go with the planning and preparation for the execution of the 2023 election, which is a couple of months from now.

“So if INEC comes back tomorrow after their meeting with the Council or the Commissioners and says that what is okay for them is 15 days or 10 days, we should know that it was scientifically chosen not just done at random or to offend anybody.

“It’s just that it is practically impossible for them to achieve all that they are expected to do under their mandates that is coming from the new Electoral Act, within the space of time…” Hon. Kalu said.

Recall that the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Hon. Aisha Dukku after the motion sponsored by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu informed the House that the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, during the meeting held on Tuesday afternoon, approved all the prayers of the motion.

“Mr. Speaker, as I earlier told you, we met with the INEC chairman based on the referral to our committee. We thought it was urgent, so we invited INEC.

“Professor Yakubu Mahmood was with us throughout yesterday afternoon and part of what we arrived at was his agreement to extend, but for the court injunction he is to appear on the 29th of June.

“That notwithstanding, he said they were guaranteed that it has to be extended, and not just extending, but also an additional voter registration during weekends. He has agreed to that and that he is going to make a statement soon to that effect.

‘That extension also involves additional machines, additional ad hoc staff and, of course, he’s going to collaborate with the security agencies. So all the prayers of the motion were approved and all members of the committee were there, including the mover of the motion,” Hon. Dukku said.

 

S.O

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