From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said it has identified and commenced disciplinary actions against 23 officials behind the attempt to register fake voters ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) had raised the alarm of plans by certain members of a political party to manipulate voters register with fake names.
Reacting formally to the allegation, Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, admitted that the 23 officials involved in fictitious registrations made as many as 40 attempts or more to register one fake voter.
He also disclosed that an estimated 93.5 million voters would, tentatively, participate in next year’s elections, adding that the final figure of voters would be confirmed after the display of the voters register for claims and objections.
“At the end of the exercise, 12,298,944 Nigerians successfully completed the registration as new voters. All along, we have repeatedly assured Nigerians that our process of cleaning up the register is robust. After a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), a total of 2,780,756 (22.6%) were identified as ineligible registrants and invalidated from the record, among them double/multiple registrants, underaged persons and outrightly fake registrations that fail to meet our business rules. Consequently, the number of valid registrations (post-ABIS) is 9,518,188.”
He also revealed that INEC was making a steady progress in other critical areas of preparation, including the provision of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, recruitment of staff and planning for movement of personnel and materials for the election.
“Let me once again reassure Nigerians that there is no going back on the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for voter accreditation. There is no going back on the transmission of results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time on election day.
“There will be no Incident Form that enables ineligible persons to vote using other people’s Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) during elections. We are committed to ensuring that the 2023 general election is transparent and credible, reflecting the will of the Nigerian people,” he said.
Issuing fresh threat to prosecute perpetrators of campaign violence, Yakubu said the commission would continue to track the campaigns and not hesitate to initiate the prosecution of violators as provided by law.