2023 Election: Not Everybody Who Registered For Voters Cards Will Be Entitled To Vote —INEC.

2023 Election: Not Everybody Who Registered For Voters Cards Will Be Entitled To Vote —INEC.

•Justifies suspension of CVR •Estimates 95m voters.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said not all who registered for the Continuous Voter Registration, (CVR), which was suspended at the weekend, would be entitled to the Permanent Voters Cards, (PVCs) to make them eligible to vote.

INEC National Commissioner for Information and Voters Education, Mr Festus Okoye, made the disclosure on Monday, while speaking in Abuja on an Arise TV programme.

Okoye, who put the estimated number of voters for 2023 general election at 95 million, maintained that prospective voters, who indulged in multiple or double registration, would be deleted   from the commission data and would ultimately be denied the PVCS.

Okoye recalled that in the first and second quarters of the CVR over 46% of those who registered were removed from the commission data for multiple registration.

He said:  “Unfortunately, the CVR isn›t over. This is because we are going to subject the entire bio-data that  was collected during the CVR exercise to a cleanup exercise,  using our system to remove double and multiple registrants.

“As you are aware, when we cleaned up  the data relating to  first and second quarter of the registration process, we removed over 46% of double and multiple registrants .So, we are going to subject this particular data for the third and fourth quarter of this registration process to the same clean up”.

Asked to react to agitation for extension of the deadline for the CVR, the INEC national commissioner said it was not possible as he argued that granting the extension would frustrate other scheduled activities towards the conduct of 2023 general elections.

He said: “If every individual, who is legally qualified to register registers, and we projected that we should give enough time to people. That was why we spaced out the voter registration process over the period of 13 months to enable all registrants, eligible to come to our local government and state offices and register.

‘Unfortunately, the deluge, the surge started building up when it was just two weeks  to the close of registration exercise. Based on the surge and the deluge, we extended the voters registration exercise by another one month. Not only that, we also deployed additional staff to all the registration areas, we deployed additional INEC machines to all the registration areas.

“We increased the period for registration from 9 in the morning to 5pm and also included Saturdays and Sundays. But unfortunately, we have to bring this process to an end because we can’t go on ad infinitum, and our electoral process is constitutionally and legally circumscribed and if we continue with the CVR exercise, ad infinitum, it will do damage to our timelines and schedules of activities for the 2023 general elections.”

“There after, we are going to subject the  entire data to display because section 19(1)  of the Electoral Act 2022, makes it mandatory for the Commission to display the voters register, for claims and objections in the 774 local government areas of Nigeria and in the 8,809 registration areas. And by our  own projection, if we consolidate the Voters register, and it comes to around 95millon registered voters, the implication is that we are going to print over twenty-eight million, five hundred thousand pages of documents to be displayed in these areas and thereafter, we are supposed to print the Permanent Voter Cards of all the legally qualified registrants and then take them back to the states, take them back to the local government areas, take them back to the registration areas for people to collect their PVCs and then we begin to audit our states and local government offices to make sure that all our non-sensitive materials are in place and then we begin to package our offices to get them ready for the 2023 general elections and continue with monitoring political parties campaigns, finances and the other activities in the timetable and schedule of activities.”




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