2023: We’ll display voters’ register soon — INEC

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclaimed as untenable reports that it has failed to display the voters’ register in disobedience of extant laws.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclaimed the report at an event to validate the revised framework and regulations for voting by Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in Abuja yesterday, said: “While we always appreciate our collaboration with all stakeholders, it has become necessary to make an important clarification in respect of a statement attributed to a section of the civil society organisations.

 

“At a media briefing yesterday, the commission was accused of failure to display the voters’ register as provided by Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022. This claim is incorrect.

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“What the commission displayed for claims and objections in our local government area offices nationwide for a period of one week, from August 15-21, 2022, was not the entire register of voters but the list of fresh registrants at the end of the fourth and last quarters of the Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, exercise covering the period from April 11-July 31, 2022.

‘’This has been the practice for several years. Earlier, the commission had displayed the register three times: 24th – 30th September 2021 (first quarter), December 24-30, 2021 (second quarter) and March 26– April 1, 2022 (third quarter).

“A comprehensive schedule of the CVR exercise and the display of the register was shared with stakeholders at our quarterly meeting just before the inception of the exercise in June last year.

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“We wish to assure Nigerians that the commission will display the comprehensive register in all the 8,809 wards and 774 local government areas/area councils nationwide as envisaged in Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022. This will integrate fresh voters registered under the last CVR exercise to the existing register of over 84 million voters.

“The date will be announced as soon the commission completes the ongoing Automated Biometric Identification System, ABIS, to weed out all double/multiple as well as ineligible registrants. We appeal to some of our friends in civil society to be guided accordingly.”

Ahead of the 2015 General Election, the Commission had introduced the idea of voting by Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

For that reason, a policy and framework designed by the commission was revised and validated in 2018 for the 2019 general election.

‘’The same policy was again revised and was presented to stakeholders on Tuesday for review and validation in preparation for the 2023 general election.

“The idea is to ensure that no eligible Nigerian is left out of the electoral process on account of displacement, disability or other circumstances that may limit citizens’ participation in the electoral process.

‘’What is presented to stakeholders today has taken into consideration several developments since the last review and validation exercise in 2018.

“First, is the increased number of IDPs as a result of widespread insecurity nationwide. Secondly, to incorporate not only the displaced citizens arising from armed conflicts but also natural emergencies such as flooding.

‘’Thirdly, to align the framework with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, specifically Section 24(1) which empowers the Commission to ensure that, as far as practicable, no Nigerian is disenfranchised on account of displacement by emergency situations.

‘’Finally, to align the framework with the national policy on internally displaced persons 2021,” Yakubu stated.