Home Nigeria 2023: INEC Extends Voters Registration by 60 Days

2023: INEC Extends Voters Registration by 60 Days

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 INEC Extends Voters Registration
 INEC Extends Voters Registration

By Uche Amunike

The public outcry and pressure from the House of Representatives, demanding that the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC extends voters registration by 60 days, has contributed to the extension of the deadline from June 30 to August 30, even if it means deploying additional machines and ad-hoc staff in other to make it a reality.
Speaking, while addressing the House of Representatives on the outcome of their meeting with INEC, Wednesday, during plenary, the Chairman, House Committee on INEC, Rep Aisha Jibril Dukku made this announcement, saying that it would give more Nigerians the opportunity to register.
The commission has assured Nigerians, Tuesday, that they would see to it that the court order that was given in order to ensure that INEC extends voters registration by 60 days, will be followed to the letter.
There has been a general increase in the number of people taking part in the continuous voters registration in the various centres mapped out across the country for the exercise.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had earlier stopped the electoral body from ending the exercise until every eligible voter had been registered. However, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives committee Chairman on Electoral matters, Aishatu Jibril Dukku, while addressing lawmakers during a plenary session, informed them of the development that at last, they had reached an agreement that the resolution to see that INEC extends voters registration with an extra 60 days , was approved.
The House of Representatives went ahead tell the commission to deploy extra staff and voter registration machines across the nation in order to see that the objective of continuous voters registration was met.
Recall that this directive came about, after the motion was moved by Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, representing Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, Hon Benjamin Kalu who harped on the need for more time to be created for more Nigerians to be registered as the ongoing CVR would end on 30th June 2022 ahead of the 2023 general election that will take place in February.
It is a fact that Section 9(6) of the electoral act stipulates that ‘the registration of voters, updating and revision of the register of voters under this section shall talk more better than 90 days before any election covered by this Act’.
Kalu therefore argued in his motion, that: ‘The House also notes that the decision to suspend the voters’ registration is in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 which requires INEC to suspend voters’ registration at least 60 days before an election.’
‘The House is aware that in April 2022, INEC declared that about 42% of the voter registrations recorded since the commencement of Continuous Voters Registration on 28 June, 2021 were invalid with about 20 million unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).’
‘The House is cognizant of the large numbers of unregistered eligible voters willing to be registered as evidenced by crowd seen at various registration centres resulting in congestion.’
‘The House is concerned by reports of shortages of voter registration machines, inadequate manpower and personnel at registration centres which may lead to frustrations among prospective registrants and in some cases, unrest at some registration centres.’
‘The House is also aware of calls from concerned citizens and civil societies urging INEC to extend the voters’ registration deadline to accommodate eligible voters desiring to register for their Permanent Voters Cards.’
‘The House is further aware that the right to vote is critically important to the health and legitimacy of our democracy, as well as electoral integrity. The House is also cognizant that if nothing is done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment and extend the deadline for voters registration, millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised, thus, jeopardizing the integrity of the 2023 general election.’
The motion has successfully been adopted and as INEC extends voters registration by 60 days, many more Nigerians are duty bound to take part of the exercise to be able to get their PVCs and also resolve other issues affecting their registration.
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