From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has disclosed that it will systematically embark on the commencement of physical registration of voters in its state and Local Government Area offices after consulting stakeholders and reviewing the security situation across the country.
INEC further said that it shelved its initial agreement to activate some 2,673 centres and deploy 5,346 officials for in-person registration and settled for an initial 811 locations nationwide involving 37 State and FCT offices and 774 LGAs.
Commission Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who made the disclosure, also revealed that the Commission has already configured enough machines and commenced deployment nationwide for further training of officials in readiness for the commencement of the physical registration exercise.
Speaking at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja on Tuesday, he said: ‘The Commission is aware that not all Nigerians have access to computers, smartphones or internet connectivity to register online. Accordingly, we have repeatedly assured every eligible registrant that there will also be an opportunity for physical or in-person registration at designated centres.
‘Even the online registrants will have to complete their registration physically at those centres. Our aim is to activate some 2,673 centres to which we intend to deploy 5,346 officials for in-person registration. However, after consultation with stakeholders, the Commission is proceeding systematically as we review the security situation across the country.
‘We agreed with stakeholders, including the security agencies, to start from our State and Local Government offices. This means an initial 811 locations nationwide made up of 37 State and FCT offices and 774 Local Government Areas.
‘We have configured enough machines and commenced deployment nationwide for further training of officials in readiness for the commencement of the physical registration.
‘We have assured Nigerians that the CVR exercise which commenced on June 28, 2021, will continue for the next one year. I am glad to report that the Commission has approved the detailed timetable and schedule of activities for the CVR exercise, including the display of the register of new voters for claims and objections by citizens at various stages of the process as required by law. The CVR exercise will be held over a period of about 13 months as follows: The list of the 811 centres for the take-off of the physical registration nationwide, including their locations and dedicated telephone numbers for each State Office nationwide in case of an enquiry by citizens, has been uploaded on our website and social media platforms.
‘The Commission is not unaware that we have scheduled the commencement of the physical registration for Monday, July 19, 2021. Already there are indications that this date or immediately thereafter may be public holidays.
‘We are also aware that some of the online registrants have scheduled their appointments for the completion of their registrations on the dates that are likely to be public holidays. The Commission will meet on Thursday this week to review the situation and provide clarity on the matter.
‘I wish to acknowledge the overwhelming support of Nigerians to the CVR exercise so far. I would like to reassure Nigerians that the Commission will continue to spare no effort in deepening the use of technology to ensure electoral transparency and credibility. The voters’ register is at the heart of any credible election.
‘This makes this meeting with our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) crucial. We are working hard to ensure that just as we had a smooth take-off of the online pre-registration, the commencement of the physical registration will similarly be hitch-free,’ he said.
While giving an update on the online pre-registration of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the INEC boss revealed that exactly two weeks since the exercise began, a total of 542,576 Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration as of 7 am on Monday, July 12, 2021.
‘We promised to make available more detailed weekly updates which we started from Monday last week. As of 7 am on Monday, July 12, 2021, exactly two weeks since the exercise began, a total of 542,576 Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration.
‘Out of this figure, 456,909 are fresh registrants while 85,667 have applied for voter transfer, replacement of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), update of voter information record, etc.
‘The Commission is also able to provide Nigerians with information on the distribution of registrants across the States of the Federation and by age, occupation, gender and disability. Out of 542,576 online registrants so far, 356,777 (or 66 per cent) are young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years.
‘This is followed by 134,719 middle-aged registrants who fall between 35 and 49 years. The third category is elderly persons aged between 50 and 69 years of which 44,896 Nigerians have registered. Interestingly, some 6,184 senior citizens (aged 70 years and above) have taken advantage of the new online opportunity to register,’ he announced.