Voter Registration: INEC announces new deadline
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced a new deadline for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise as July 31, 2022.
This is according to a press release signed by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, on Friday.
INEC Announces 31st July 2022 as new Deadline for Continuous Voter Registration pic.twitter.com/hhbzr4827F
— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) July 15, 2022
According to the statement, the extension was because of “the judgement delivered by the Federal High Court on Wednesday July 13 2022 in which it dismissed the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which is seeking an extension of the exercise beyond June 30 2022.”
It affirmed that INEC is at liberty to appoint a date of its choice to suspend the CVR, provided it is not later than 90 days before the date fixed for the General Election as provided in Sec. 9 (6) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The commission explained that it complied with an interim court injunction pending the determination of the substantive suit and continued the CVR beyond its initial deadline of June 30.
It said it had, therefore, extended the deadline to 15 days.
Following the Federal High Court judgment, which, according to INEC, had removed all legal encumbrances, the commission decided that it was extending the deadline of the voter registration exercise by another two weeks until Sunday, July 31, 2022.
The statement partly read, “In compliance with the interim injunction of the Court pending the determination of the substantive suit, and in order to enable more Nigerians to register, the commission continued with the CVR beyond June 30, 2022.
“For this reason, they have already extended the CVR beyond June 30, 2022, for 15 days. With the judgement of the Federal High Court, all legal encumbrances have now been removed.
“The Commission has taken the following decisions:
- “The CVR is hereby extended for another two weeks until Sunday, July 31, 2022, bringing the total duration of the extension to 31 days (1st–31st July 2022).
- “The exercise has also been extended to eight hours daily from 9.00 am–5.00 pm instead of the current duration of six hours (9.00 am–3.00 pm) daily.
- “The exercise is also extended to include weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) as against only weekdays. We appreciate the timeframe may be tight for many prospective registrants.
“But there is a lot that the Commission is required to do under the electoral legal framework in relation to voter registration and compilation of the register that will require time to accomplish.”
INEC pleaded for understanding, stating that it had several activities to carry out to prepare for the 2023 general election, hence the “tight timeframe.”
The statement added, “For instance, the commission is required to:
1. Clean-up of the register to remove multiple registrants using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS);
2. Consolidate the national register of voters (existing voters and new registrants) and display same on Polling Unit basis for each of the 8,809 Registration Areas (Wards) across the 774 Local Government Areas nationwide for public scrutiny. This lasts for one week. Based on a new projection of 95 million voters, because of 10 voters per page, the commission has to print 9,500,000 pages for the display;
3. Print millions of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for all fresh registrants and applicants for transfer and replacement of lost or damaged PVCs;
4. Ensure that there is ample time for voters to collect their PVCs ahead of the 2023 General Election;
5. Print the final register of voters in triplicate for the 2023 General Election involving a projected 28,500,000 pages for accreditation and display it at 176,846 polling units for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) on February 25, 2023, and State elections (Governorship and State Assembly) on March 11, 2023;
6. Make copies of the updated national register of voters available to political parties not later than 30 days to the date fixed for the General Election.”
The statement added that the CVR exercise would continue after the 2023 general election.
“We appeal for the patience and understanding of all Nigerians as we conclude the exercise which will resume after the 2023 General Election.
“We observed that following the continuation of the exercise beyond June 30, 2022, many of the registration centres recorded a low turnout of prospective registrants.”