…DECLARES 45 PERCENT OF NEW REGISTRATIONS INVALID
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said additional 1,390,519 Nigerians are eligible to vote in forthcoming general elections in 2023.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, spoke during a press briefing on the outcome of the First and Second Quarters of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise in Abuja on Wednesday
He said that a total of 1,854,859 PVCs are now ready for collection nationwide and would be sent to the states for distribution during the Easter period.
He added that the commission would not allow collection of the PVCs by proxy.
However, Yakubu raised the alarm over the persisting issue of large scale invalid registrations which was detected while cleaning up the latest registration data.
Yakubu said that INEC introduced the
the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) which he said was more comprehensive and robust involving not just fingerprint identification but also the facial biometric recognition as against the AFIS used in previous continuous voter registration exercises.
He noted that in spite of the holistic efforts, the commission discovered discovered that 45 percent of registrations across the country were invalid adding that the figure rose as high as 60 percent in some states.
He assured that INEC will defend the sanctity of the voters register by excluding the invalid registrations from
The INEC boss said that the some of the commission’s staff might be complicit in the observed attempt to scuttle the registration efforts even as he threatened to prosecute any suspect in accordance with Sections 22 and 23 of the Electoral Act 2022.
He said, “Sadly, it seems that many registrants, either out of ignorance that they do not need to re-register if they had done so before, or a belief that our systems will not detect this infraction, have gone out to register again.
“This is despite repeated warnings by the Commission against this illegal action. In addition, there are also registrants whose data were incomplete and did not meet our Business Rules for inclusion in the register. Both categories i.e. the failure of ABIS and incomplete data constitute invalid registrations.
“Presently, nearly 45% of completed registrations nationwide are invalid, rising to as high as 60% or more in some States. This infraction happened in all States of the Federation. No State is immune from it.
“These invalid registrations will not be included in the Register of Voters. In our commitment to transparency, the distribution of the registration figures, including the percentages of valid and invalid registrations on State-by-State basis, will be made available to you at this press conference. The same information will be uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms immediately.
“This development is worrisome because of the time and resources expended in handling these cases. Even more disturbing are the strong indications that some of our staff may be complicit in facilitating these infractions, notwithstanding stern warnings.
“Consequently, the Commission is reviewing reports on such staff and has commenced a detailed investigation which may include the prosecution of those found culpable. Specific registrants associated with these infractions by our staff may also face prosecution in line with Sections 22 and 23 of the Electoral Act 2022.”
Yakubu recalled that the commission which was using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System was able to remove 4,239,923 invalid registrations from the voters registrar which had 73,528,040 Nigerians registered in 2011.
He said that the Register of Voters for the 2015 General Election was 69,288,117 with 432,173 new voters added to it during the CVR exercises ahead of the off-cycle Governorship elections in five States (Bayelsa, Kogi, Edo, Ondo and Anambra) from late 2015 to early 2017, bringing the total number of registered voters in Nigeria to 69,720,350.
He recalled further that 15,317,872, new voters made it to the voters register from 27th April 2017 to 31st August 2018, during which 1,034,141 ineligible registrants were detected and removed from the register which took it 84,004,084 voters for the 2019 election.