The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it cannot extend the voter registration exercise because it will hamper its preparations for the 2023 general elections.
The Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mike Igini stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
“Now that we have officially suspended the CVR process, we have to consolidate, aggregate the data and run the biometric accreditation system to weed out all multiple registrants,” he said during the breakfast show on Friday.
“Thereafter, Section 19 [Electoral Act 2022] says we must do a one-week display of the voter register for the commission to accept claims; objections as it relates to either omitted names or names of individuals that ought not to be on that register as identified by people in the area.
“And how do you do that? You have to produce the preliminary register of voters for this purpose which means they have to be millions of these would-be voters. That will be posted in the entire wards and local governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and that is a huge work.”
He stated that following this, the electoral umpire will also print and give the new registrants their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“So, there is a lot to be done,” he said, noting that Section 17 of the Electoral Act only mandates the Commission to stop voter registration less than and not exactly 90 days to the election.
Aside from this, he said, “it is not only this that INEC will be doing”.
Despite the criticism that followed the registration suspension, Igini stated that Nigerians should instead be worried about voter turnout in the upcoming election.
“What gives spice to the practice of democracy is mass participation,” the INEC official said.
The INEC REC expressed delight with the current upsurge in interest in the electoral process among Nigerians, equating it with the atmosphere in the nation prior to the 1993 election.
Prior to his remark, the electoral authority had on July 31 suspended voter registration, citing 12 million new registrations.
According to a breakdown of the data, young people make up around 71 per cent of the newly registered voters. Additionally, it showed that 2.4 million people are between the ages of 35 and 49, while 8.7 million are between the ages of 18 and 34.