INEC: Issues In Continuous Voter Registration
By admin On 24 Jul, 2017 At 01:18 AM | Categorized As News | With 0 Comments

PVC – INECIn order to consolidate on the achievements of the Commission in the last general elections, the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) embarked on a number of its assignments much earlier than it has ever done since the advent of this democratic experience in 1999.

The latest is the Continuous Voters Registration exercise which it commenced on Thursday, 27th April, this year. The exercise is in line with the provision of part 111 section 9-24 of the electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

This development is a clear departure from the past practice of commencing the exercise close to elections and on the eve of stand-alone elections, thereby disenfranchising eligible voters.

The exercise is aimed at registering prospective first time voters, those who have attained 18 years of age since the last registration and also register those who could not register in past exercises.

It is also to allow for collection of PVCs in person and not by proxy, as well as effect transfers and relocation of registration, among others.

The consolidated register of voters in the country as at the commencement of the exercise in April was 69,720,350. Moreover, it is important to note that this is the first time INEC is conducting this exercise in the manner prescribed in the electoral act.

The media parley organized by the ISDMG and presided over by its Executive Director, Dr. Chima Amadi, had only one agenda, the appraisal of the exercise with the intent of correcting the flaws that might have been identified on the field and by journalists.

While shedding more light on the objective of the exercise embarked upon by the Commission, Amadi stated that the Continuous Voters Registration exercise was expected to be conducted in all the 774 LGAs across the country and was also expected to run between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm daily. He added that during the exercise, Temporary Voters Cards (TVCs) are expected to be issued to registrants at the point of registration.

He further stated that the Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) is expected to be displayed for scrutiny at Registration centres at the end of every quarter before printing of PVCs, stressing that the list of registered voters for the quarter is expected to be displayed at Registration Centres for seven days, while the Register would be clearly marked Preliminary Register of Voters.

“The PVCs of those registered in Quarter 1 (Q1) should be ready for collection in Quarter 3 (Q3), and Quarter 2 (Q2) will be ready in Quarter 4 (Q4) etc. The last week of each quarter will be for display, hearing the claims and objections and housekeeping (Data backup, Consolidation, Reporting etc)”, he disclosed, even as he commended the INEC on this innovation and the conduct of the exercise nationwide.

Both ISDMG and journalists were of the view that reports from observers across the country confirmed that the exercise is on course at the 774 LGAs in the country. They equally noted that the exercise would strategically place INEC in a vantage position to conduct and enhance the sanctity of the electoral process and the 2019 elections.

Consequently, he disclosed that “Information available to us indicates that in the eight weeks of the exercise so far, over 900,000 new voters have been registered, 41% females and 59% males. The largest turnout so far is recorded in Lagos, Rivers and Anambra states, and the lowest are Ondo, Gombe and the FCT. On PVC collection, over 38,000 have been collected so far with highest numbers from Lagos, Kogi and Ondo, lowest numbers from Taraba, Zamfara and Bauchi.”

However, ISDMG and journalists admitted that the exercise has not been itch free as a number of challenges were observed.

These include distance of the registration centres, low awareness and publicity, slow Direct Data Capture Machines (DDCMs), power, as well as security (insurgency and communal crisis). Other challenges are location of some of the centres and their conditions, difficult terrain and overcrowded registration centres.

On transfer request, it was noted that over 42, 000 requests have been made so far, while over 86,000 request for reprint of lost, defaced and damaged PVCs have been attended to by the Commission.

The gathering also called on all and sundry to support the Commission to achieve this Herculean task that is a critical aspect of conducting a successful 2019 poll.

It noted that whereas, managing the nation’s electoral process is a great task considering the challenges that INEC is faced with in its daily operations, it is the duty of all well-meaning Nigerians to help the Commission to maintain the sanctity of the ballot in order to ensure an enduring democracy.

For the exercise to witness some improvements, the gathering suggested that INEC should immediately commence arrangements to reorganize, decentralize and make the continuous voter registration process flexible, less cumbersome and accessible to qualified citizens. It however noted this can only happen if INEC is properly funded as it has often been advocated.

He stated that “Continuous voter education is key; therefore, Voter education needs more attention now. All stakeholders must join hands in conducting voter education across the states and the 774 LGAs. INEC and NOA should be made to work with the people and the CSOs to drive the process of enlightening the people on the electoral process and the CVR”.

He also urged politicians, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the outcome of the exercise to use their offices to conduct voter education and raise awareness for their constituents to avail themselves of the opportunity.

In the same vein, he urged citizens to be vigilant and support the security operatives in the protection of the equipment used for the exercise, adding that registration as a voter is the first step to being a responsible citizen.

THISDAY

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