A man displays his voter’s card on September 19, 2020. Photo credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room), a coalition of Civil Society Organisations, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to extend the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
The current CVR exercise is scheduled to end on June 30.
But the CSOs believe “citizens have now intensified their efforts in registering for their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC).
“There have also been several appeals by Nigerians to INEC to extend the registration exercise to enable them register to obtain a PVC. Situation Room has received reports of large crowds at the INEC offices across the country.
“There were lots of complaints while the pre-registrations were open on the online voters’ portal, that confirmed scheduling was not observed by officers at many INEC offices leading to people being treated as walk-in registrants and asked to queue to supply the same details already provided online.
“While we note some registrants wait for last minute to meet deadlines for registration, it is also worthy to note that there have been several complaints of inadequate manpower and equipment in INEC offices, thus making it difficult to have a seamless registration process. This has led to delays and restiveness of citizens waiting to register in long queues.
“Situation Room is further concerned that many Nigerians will be discouraged and disenfranchised if the exercise proceeds in this manner. In addition, INEC is yet to cover many of the rural communities in this process thereby excluding citizens who may be far away from the INEC LGA offices.
“The attention of Situation Room has been called on several posts by citizens on Twitter reporting the conduct of INEC officials across the country. In Amawbia, Awka-South LGA – Anambra State, prospective voters were asked to sweep the INEC office before being attended to or leave if they refused. In Nnewi North Local Government, another report states that the sum of 1,000 Naira is being collected for voter registration. In Aba North LGA, workers have not been to work for four months.
“Situation Room calls on INEC to check conduct of their staff nationwide, properly coordinate the ongoing voter registration exercise and restrain the chaotic situation in many registration centres nationwide. If the process is managed properly and seamlessly, every eligible citizen will be captured. S 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 which allows for voter registration to go on till ninety days to the general elections means that INEC still has room to extend the CVR exercise.
“Situation Room commends the traders in Alaba International Market, Ojo in Lagos State who shut down the market to register for their PVCs and dispelled the thugs who came to disrupt the process. Citizens should not be subject to this kind of attack in the process of carrying out a constitutional right. We call on the Nigeria Police to investigate the incident and make arrest of perpetrators to prevent this incident from repeating itself in other locations where registrants are gathered.
“Situation Room therefore urges eligible citizens who are yet to register not to be deterred and to take advantage of the ongoing CVR exercise to do so. For those who registered between July 2021 and December 2021, Situation Room calls on them to go to INEC’s Office at the Local Government Area where their polling unit is located to collect their PVCs.
“Remember, it is your right to vote!”