PRESS STATEMENT ON THE ONGOING CONTINUOUS VOTER REGISTRATION BY THE ISDMG, CENTER FOR TRANSPARENCY ADVOCACY 16TH JUNE, 2017
The independent National Electoral Commission led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu commenced the continuous voters’ registration on Thursday, 27th April 2017 to fulfill the provision of part 111 section 9-24 of the electoral Act 2010 (as amended), a departure from the past practice of commencing voter’s registration close to elections and on the eve of stand-alone elections. The consolidated register of voters in Nigeria as at April 27th 2017 is 69,720,350. 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 objectives of the exercise are as follows;
- To address some outstanding issues in previous exercises
- Register prospective first time voters (those who have attained 18years of age since the last registration)
- Register those who could not register in past exercises
- Collection of PVCs in person not by Proxy
- Effect transfers and relocation of registration
Remedial actions in respect of persons on the following;
- Whose names are on the register, have their TVCs but their PVCs were not printed
- Whose names are on the register but have lost their PVCs
- With incorrect details on their PVCs (e.g wrong gender, wrong spelling of names etc)
- With damaged, defaced or faded PVCs
- The exercise conducted in all the 774 LGAs commences at 9am and closes at 3pm Monday
- Temporary Voters Card (TVCs) will be issued to registrants at the point of registration
- The Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) shall be displayed for scrutiny at Registration centres at the end of every quarter before printing of PVCs. The list of registered voters for the quarter will be displayed at Registration Centres for 7 days. The Register shall 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).
The ISDMG commends the INEC on this innovation and the conduct of the exercise nationwide. Reports from our observers across the country confirm that the exercise is on course at the 774 LGAs in the country.Equally, we note that this will strategically place INEC in a vintage position to conduct and enhance the sanctity of the electoral process and the 2019 elections.
Information available to us indicates that in the eight weeks of the exercise so far over 900,000new 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 collect so far with highest numbers from Lagos, Kogi and Ondo, lowest numbers from Taraba, Zamfara and Bauchi. We have monitored the registration so far and observed some challenges;
- Distance of the registration centres
- Low awareness and publicity
- Slow Direct Data Capture Machines (DDCMs)
- Security (insurgency and communal crisis)
- Location of some of the centres and their conditions
- Difficult terrain
- Overcrowded registration centres
On transfer request, over 42, 000 request have been made, on request for reprint of lost, defaced and damaged PVCs over 86,000 have been attended to.
We recognise the fact that managing the Nigeria electoral process is a herculean task considering the challenges that INEC is faced with in its daily operations. However, it is the duty of all well-meaning Nigerians to help the INEC to maintain the sanctity of the ballot in our dear Country to ensure an enduring democracy.
Suggestions for improvement:
INEC should immediately commence arrangements to reorganize, decentralize and make the continuous voter registration process flexible, less cumbersome and accessible to qualified citizens this we understand can only happen if INEC is properly funded as we have always advocated.
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. Politicians who are the ultimate beneficiaries of the outcome of the exercise should use their offices to conduct voter education and raise awareness for their constituents to avail themselves of the opportunity.
Citizens must be vigilant and support the security operatives in the protection of the equipment used for the exercise. Registration as a voter is the first step to being a responsible citizen.
In a related development, we wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Political Debate Commission (NPDC) which has gone through second reading in the senate with a public hearing conducted on 31st May, 2017 and lend our voice to the voices of others who have commended the need to institutionalize the political debates in Nigeria as in other climes but cautions that the idea of such an institution being supervised, funded, run by government and whose head is appointed by a sitting president, who would have gone through such a debate prior to becoming a president will be counterproductive.
In our view, such an institution will not only increase the cost burden on government, but can be politicized. What is the guarantee that the head of the commission who was appointed by a sitting president will not be compromised?
It is also not compulsory that all candidates appear for a debate, therefore, the provision in the bill to disqualify anyone who is not part of a debate contradicts the provisions of sections 131, 137, 141, 142, 177, 182 and 187 in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria (as amended)where it specifies the processes for qualification and nomination of candidates (President, Vice President, Governor and deputy).
We advise that such a commission remain an independent organisation run by credible individuals, supported by corporate organisation working in collaboration with major media organisations and some government agencies such as NTA, NOA and the political parties.
Dr. Chima Amadi