KEY political gladiators are preoccupied with rallying support for their bid for choice elective offices in the 2023 general election despite the seeming lethargy by prospective voters towards the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration initiated in 2021 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), reports WALE AKINSELURE.
Nigeria is presently in the third quarter of the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise that began on June 28, 2021. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared commencement of the CVR apparently in a bid to update the voter register used for the 2019 election that had 84,004,084 registrants. Ahead of the 2023 elections, the commission detailed quarterly schedules for the exercise with the first quarter running from June 28 to September, 21, 2021; the second quarter running from October 4 to December 20, 2021; and the current third quarter, which is in its seventh week, is scheduled to elapse in April.
The CVR is being done in compliance with the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended), which mandates the INEC to carry out CVR nationwide and to make available to every political party within 60 days. The CVR is meant for registration of citizens who turned 18 years of age after the 2019 election or those, who for one reason or another, could not register in the previous exercises. The CVR also allows for updating or amendment of registration details by registered voters: misspelt names, omissions or wrong details, amendment in marital status. The CVR is to culminate in the issuance of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) which will enable registered voters exercise their civic right to vote in the general elections. In embracing technology, the hitherto practice of intending registrants presenting themselves to the CVR officers at INEC offices or designated public areas for registration was substituted with the creation of a portal where intending voters do a pre-registration. In place of the previous laptop-based Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM), the ongoing CVR involves the use of a new registration machine known as the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED).
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, however, added that the new device could also be used for other purposes such as voter registration during elections, dealing with registered voters who have had issues with their PVCs or fingerprints during accreditation during previous election. Expected to partake in the current CVR exercise are: Nigerian citizens who have attained the age of 18 years and not previously registered; Registered voters who have encountered challenges with their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVC) or their fingerprints not being read by the Smart Card Reader; Registered voters who want to effect a transfer of their voting locations; Registered voters who want to effect changes to their personal details; Registered voters whose PVCs are lost or defaced/damaged. However, pre-registration is just one step with intending registrants still mandated to go to INEC state or local government area offices for their biometrics and completion of their registration?
To also address fears of those who are not digitally inclined, physically disabled or people living in rural areas without access to the Internet, the commission established 2,673 centres where citizens can register manually. Upon conclusion of CVR, INEC is expected to display a preliminary register of voters for scrutiny, between a period of five and fourteen days, clean up its data before printing PVCs.