The Independent National Electoral Commission has promised to address every complaint made by Nigerians on the display of the preliminary voters register that is being displayed throughout all the wards in the 774 local government areas of the country even as the display at the Registration Area level ends today. The Commission has also restated
The Independent National Electoral Commission has promised to address every complaint made by Nigerians on the display of the preliminary voters register that is being displayed throughout all the wards in the 774 local government areas of the country even as the display at the Registration Area level ends today.
The Commission has also restated its commitment to transparency and accountability in all its activities and has expressed hope that at the end of the display exercise, with the cooperation of citizens, it would have successfully improved the quality of the voters register which is the bedrock of a successful election.
In a statement on Thursday titled: “Update on The Ongoing Display of the Voters Register” signed by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, the Commission said that the display will be followed by hearing of claims and objections by citizens for disposal action.
Acknowledging that so far the Commission has been harvesting the online claims and objections, he said the Commission will do the same for the manual process. “At the end of the exercise, all claims and objections made will be addressed. In this way, citizens are contributing to the strengthening of our electoral process”
The social media has been awash with different issues since the commencement of the display exercise, most of the complaints by some of the registrants centers on the presence of perceived underage persons on the register, particularly from some states of the federation. Comments on the social media by the complainants wondered why the Commission did not delete such names as it did in some other states during its preliminary clean up exercise.
Others queried why the electoral Commission allowed registration of underage voters into its system in the first instance. They have called on INEC to fix all such infractions ahead of the voting process next year and enhance its credibility.
INEC, in its statement said that the commission is aware of Nigerians’ complaints, and ready to correct the anomalies. The commission also noted that the purpose of the activities was to show Nigerians its commitment to transparency adding that the commission will not hesitate to prosecute any of its officially found guilty of infractions of giving ineligible voters access to register in the first place.
The full statement reads: “Nigerians would recall that last Saturday 12th November 2022, the Commission published the preliminary national register of voters in its 8,809 Registration Areas (Wards) and 774 Local Government Area offices nationwide. Similarly, the entire register has been published on the Commission’s website for the first time in the nation’s electoral history.
“The purpose of the display is to enable Nigerians to scrutinise the preliminary register and make claims about misspellings of names, personal details or missing names on the register so that the errors can be corrected.
“In addition, citizens can raise objections about the presence of ineligible persons, for example, those below the age of 18 years, dead persons, foreigners, or those making false claims so that they can be deleted from the register in line with the Commission’s established rules.
“As earlier announced, the Commission will display the physical copies of the register for claims and objections at two levels. First, at the Registration Area level from 12th to 18th November 2022, which comes to an end tomorrow, and thereafter, at the Local Government level from 19th to 25th November 2022.
“The display will be followed by a hearing of claims and objections by citizens for disposal action. In addition to the physical display at the Registration Areas and Local Governments, the register is also displayed on the Commission’s website so that citizens can simultaneously make both claims and objections online throughout the duration of the exercise.
“This is the first time that the Commission would be doing so and further underscores our commitment to applying technology to improve the electoral process. So far, the Commission has been harvesting the online claims and objections. We will do the same for the manual process. At the end of the exercise, all claims and objections made will be addressed_ In this way, citizens are contributing to the strengthening of our electoral process.
“It is therefore in the foregoing context that recent media reports on the presence of ineligible registrants in the register should be the sun. The full display of all registrants speaks to the Commission’s commitment to transparency.
“The fact that these likely ineligible registrants are being identified means that the objectives of the display for claims and objections are being met We implore the public to follow the procedures and report these objections for the necessary action of the Commission
“In addition, the Commission cannot rule out infractions by its registration officials in allowing these ineligible persons into the register in the first place. Therefore, each confirmed case of infraction will be thoroughly investigated and culpable officials will be disciplined
“We wish to. reassure Nigerians that the Commission is committed to transparency and accountability in all its activities. We hope that at the end of the exercise, the Commission, with the involvement of citizens, would have improved the quality of the Register of Voters, which is the bedrock of a successful election_ Nigerians should note that perfecting the register is a continuous and painstaking process over time Indeed, the presently displayed register contains all the voters dating back to the registration of 2011, not just the recent exercise_
“That some of these likely ineligible entries are being found presently confirms the Commission’s position that the best way to make the voters’ register more robust is for Nigerians to continue to scrutinise it and, more importantly, make their claims and objections for its improvement”, Festus Okoye said.