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2023: INEC ready to resume continuous voter’s registration Monday

...Says no eligible Nigerian will be disenfranchised

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is ready to resume the continuous voter registration (CVR) on next Monday, in preparation for the 2023 general elections.

Accordingly, the Commission has acquired all the equipment for the exercise, updated it’s registration software and planned for the deployment of 5,346 staff to the 2,673 registration centres nationwide.

The registration which is lasting for one year, would commence with online registration through the INEC registration portal; or for a period of three weeks after which the exercise would physically at designated centres nationwide.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu who announced the Commission’s readiness for take-off of the CVR at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, also said the registration portal will go live in the early hours of the commencement,
Monday, 28th June 202.

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Yakubu disclosed that among the equipment for the exercise, is a new registration machine called the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), built around the concept of a Tablet computer to replace the lap-top based old Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM).

“I am glad to say that our engineers designed the IVED in-house before it was fabricated abroad. It is more mobile and efficient than the DDCM and could also be deployed to other activities, particularly the accreditation of voters during elections”, he said.

The INEC Chairman explained that the idea of the portal is for intending registrants to commence the process online by filling the forms and uploading their pictures and required documents, and then make an appointment on the web portal for a date and time to visit an INEC State or Local Government Area (LGA) office to give their fingerprints and complete the registration.

He added that those who are already registered as voters can carry out all the other activities such as transfers, correction of personal details and replacement of damaged or defaced Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) online.

“We hope that through this portal, we shall reduce overcrowding at our registration centres, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, make the registration processes generally easier, thereby giving Nigerians a pleasant electoral experience”, Yakubu said.

The Professor of History and International Relations reiterated that the online registration is a public service and therefore free of charge, saying “there is no INEC-approved cybercafe, no online registration centre and no scratch card to be purchased for the exercise.

“All you need is a device, including your mobile phones, that can connect to the internet. Citizens can complete the online pre-registration anywhere and at any time they choose. Just follow the simple but detailed step-by-step procedure on the portal and contact the INEC Help Desk where necessary. The details are on our website”.

He allayed the fears expressed by some Nigerians that many citizens may be disenfranchised by the new digital arrangement, noting that INEC is aware that not all Nigerians have computers, smart phones, access to the internet or residing in urban and suburban areas.

“Some citizens may also have one form of disability or another to make it impossible for them to register online. The Commission is also aware of its responsibility under the law to provide every eligible Nigerian the opportunity to register irrespective of where they live or other circumstances of life.

“I wish to assure you that in addition to the online registration portal, there will be some 2,673 centres where citizens can register physically nationwide. Furthermore, the exercise will be carried out continuously over a period of at least one year thereby providing enough time for the Commission to reach all the nooks and crannies of the country. No eligible Nigerian will be disenfranchised”, Yakubu said.

According to him, after appraisal of growing security challenges, recent attacks on its facilities and advice by critical stakeholders, INEC decided to adopt a roll-out and roll-back approach to the exercise such that the registration centres will not only be accessible but safe and secure.

By this approach, online registration holds 28th June, 2021 through the INEC registration portal, scheduled appointments for online registrants and
physical CVR commence on July 19 at INEC State and Local Government offices nationwide while date for commencement of Commencement of physical CVR at all other registration centres would be determined by the evaluation of security situation.

The INEC Chairman also explained that
the registration will be for Nigerians who are 18 years and above and have not registered previously, registered voters who have had any problem during accreditation for any past election, with either their Permanent Voters’ Cards or their fingerprints not being read by the Smart Card Reader.

Others are registered voters who want to transfer their voting location from one place to another, registered voters who want to correct issues with their data, such as misspelt names, dates of birth and registered voters whose PVCs are lost or damaged.

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