The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has sought the support of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in cleaning the nation’s voters’ register.
Yakubu made the call during the Commission’s quarterly meeting with the CSOs in Abuja on Thursday.
“I will like to appeal to all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the display to scrutinise the list and help us clean it further so that the final register of voters for the 2023 general elections can be compiled and published,” he said.
“We played our own part, which was to do the initial cleaning up of the register, but the law required that Nigerians help us, and that is why we’re printing 9.3 million copies of the register and displaying the same at the wards and local governments nationwide.
“Let me once again appeal to civil society and Nigerians in general to please, when we paste the list, check and scrutinise so that if there are still ineligible persons in the register, kindly draw our attention to it so that at the end of the day, we’ll have a clearer and better register for the election.”
Prof. Yakubu said that during the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, which started on 28th June 2021 and was suspended on 31st July 2022, a total of 12,298,944 new voters successfully completed their registrations.
According to him, after a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), a total of 2,780,756 (22.6 per cent) ineligible registrants, comprising individuals who engaged in double, multiple, and fake registrations, as well as underaged persons, were identified and invalidated from the record.
The INEC Chairman explained that after delisting ineligible registrants, a total of 9,518,188 newly registered voters have been added to the existing 84,004,084 voters, which brings the total to 93,522,272 voters in the preliminary register of voters.
Prof. Yakubu explained that in accordance with the law, the Commission would publish the hard copies of the new register at designated centres of the 8,809 Registration Areas (Wards) and 774 LGAs across the country and the entire register on its website from Saturday, 12th November to Friday, 25th November for claims and objections.
On the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), he said that the Commission was working hard to ensure the completion of the printing of the remaining PVCs for new voters and those that applied for transfer or the replacement of their lost or damaged cards.
Prof. Yakubu disclosed that in the coming days, INEC would inform Nigerians of its plan to ensure a seamless connection of the PVCs.
He said, “Since the end of the CVR in July this year, we have been working to ensure that citizens have a pleasant experience when they come to collect their cards, including collaboration with civil society organisations for a pilot exercise in the Federal Capital Territory. We have been doing a pilot with some of the civil society organisations and the FCT. We are exploring the possibility of scaling up the FCT pilot for nationwide application and we have been receiving separate letters from several civil society organisations offering to partner with the Commission to ensure a seamless collection of the PVCs
“At this meeting, we will discuss both the FCT pilot, what we are doing with the CSOs, and any other proposal the CSOs have to help us. This is our election; it is not the INEC election. It is Nigeria’s elections. It is only when we come together that we can have the kind of credible elections that we all expect”.
Speaking on behalf of the CSOs, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund, Mrs. Mufuliat Fijabi, expressed the CSOs’ commitment to enhancing the process of elections in Nigeria and to having credible elections.
She said, “We, however, use this medium to also call on the Commission to continue with real-time collaboration with civil society organizations as things unfold for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
“While I commend the Commission, I also wish to state clearly that CSOs, as critical stakeholders, will continue to do our best to make the democracy in Nigeria one that is good and one that we are proud of as Nigerians that remains a standard example for other African countries.”