INEC Awaits Probe Panel Report on Underage Registration

INEC Awaits Probe Panel Report on Underage Registration

To ensure a credible 2019 election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is awaiting its probe committee report on the allegation of underage registration as recently reported in the Kano Local Government election. Worried by the videos and pictures showing some underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers, the INEC came out with a statement distancing itself

To ensure a credible 2019 election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is awaiting its probe committee report on the allegation of underage registration as recently reported in the Kano Local Government election.

Worried by the videos and pictures showing some underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers, the INEC came out with a statement distancing itself and denying its involvement in the conduct of the election.

The INEC , through its Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu, promised to sanitise the nation’s electoral process in order to deliver free, fair, and credible elections. The Commission followed this up with the inauguration of an eight-member committee to probe the alleged under aged voting in Kano state.

The Committee which has two weeks to submit its report has Abubakar Nahuche as Chairman. Other members are Mary Agbamuche-Mbu, Mike Igini, Kassim Geidam, Yakubu Duku, Rukayat Bunmi, Paul Omokore and Jude Chikezie whowill also serve as Secretary.

The Committee, according to INEC Chairman, is ‘not investigating the outcome of the election but the allegation of underaged voters who voted using the Commission’s register’

Describing the incident of underage persons voting as disturbing, the Chairman of INEC noted that the recent incidents are curious because no such incidents was reported at a bye-election for Minjibir constituency in Kano state in 2016.

But INEC Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi recently admitted that it was possible that under aged persons were registered by INEC staff whose lives were under threat. Very often, such underage persons were resisted but if they insisted on being registered, INEC has put mechanisms in place such that after such’ forced registration’ their names are removed from the register.

Contributing to a panel discussion on the Continuous Voter Registration exercise in Lagos recently, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos state, Mr. Akin Orebiyi said desperation by politicians is often responsible for the problem of under aged registration. ‘The politicians know winning an election starts from registration of voters and so would do anything to ensure he enjoys an advantage’

Mr. Orebiyi spoke at a citizen engagement forum organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) with support from Action Aid Nigeria and Department for International Development (DFID)

The Chairman of INEC has, however, restated the Commission’s commitment to organizing the 2019 election in line with the highest global professional standards; Deliver a cost efficient but high quality general election; Ensure that all stakeholders are carried along and create a level playing field for all candidates and political parties in administering the election; Ensure accountability and responsibility of all INEC staff in the conduct of the election.

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