From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has lamented poor voters registration in Kaduna State.
The Commission noted that Kaduna, which was rated third in the 2019 general elections after Lagos and Kano in voters figures, has dropped to almost 15th position in recent times in the country.
In a paper presentation on Thursday to sensitise Ulamas and other Islamic leaders on the need to take seriously the Continuous Voters Registration (CRV) in the state, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Kaduna State, Dr Asmau Sani Maikudi, blamed insecurity, inadequate sensitisation, among other factors on the poor voters’ registration.
The paper presentation was titled “State of Continuous Voters Registration (CRV) in Kaduna State”.
The sensitisation meeting was organised by the Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN).
According to Dr Maikudi, ‘when you look at the figures of 2019 general elections in terms of voters registration, Lagos came first, Kano second and Kaduna third.
‘We began voters registration in June last year, we did the first quarter, second quarter and now we are in the third quarter, and what we are seeing is that Kaduna is not doing very well, so we felt that we should engage stakeholders and sensitise them.
‘We keep on telling the people to come register, and that it is not a new registration. The people who are now 18 years can now come and register. And I want to use this opportunity to the people that it is not true that the 2011 voters card is no longer useful. It is not true.
‘Over the years, Kaduna state has always been third nationwide after Lagos and Kano in terms of voter registration figures. However, in recent times poor turnout of prospective registrants has pushed the figures down.
‘This can be attributed to a number of factors which include insecurity, network downtime, lack of adequate sensitisation, and inability to carry out the rotation.
‘The problem of insecurity which has been affecting the exercise in the state was brought to fore in the first phase of the exercise with the non-conduct of the registration in Birnin-Gwari LGA since commencement after a security incident which affected our personnel.
‘There’s also the partial conduct of the registration in some LGAS due to the activities of bandits and kidnappers, which led to the shutdown of telecommunication services in seven (7) LGAS across the state.
‘The exercise has also been hindered by clashes between herders and farmers which has claimed many lives, as witnessed in Kaura, Zangon-Kataf and Kachia LGAS.
‘The aftermath of the Kaduna State Local Government elections also affected the exercise in some LGAS. (eg Soba) Right from the beginning, the Commission had planned for rotation of the exercise, but the issue of insecurity has necessitated the suspension of the rotation. However, the Commission may reverse the suspension once there is relative improvement in security issues.’
She added that ‘there has been a slight improvement since the commencement of the third
phase of the exercise. with the online registration going up remarkably to 179.598 as at 24th January 2022.
‘This is noticed especially in the metropolitan and urban LGAS due to the Commissions sustained effort with sensitisation and enlightenment programmes.
‘However more needs to be done to push for the physical capture which is at 55.748 as at Monday 24th Jan 2022, being the most important step to complete the registration process.
‘I will like to appreciate the effort being made by the Supreme Council of Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) in organising this important seminar and also emphasise the need for all stakeholders such as the
(SCSN) to assist in sensitising the public on this important activity.’
Also, speaking, the Secretary General of the SCSN, Dr Nafiu Baba Ahmed, said: ‘We invited officials of INEC to come and appeal to the people to live up to their civic responsibility by registering as citizens of Nigeria to vote in the forthcoming general elections.’