By Emmanuel Oloniruha,Abuja.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has yet to add new registrants, captured at the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), to the Voters’ Register for 2023 General Elections.
INEC said this in a statement issued by Festus Okoye, its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in Abuja on Thursday.
Okoye said that no new registrant would also be added to the register until the supplemental activities for their integration had been completed, in line with the law.
“The attention of the commission has been drawn to a report of a press conference addressed by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) on the register of voters for the 2023 general election.
“The commission recognises and respects the right of citizens, either as individuals and groups, to demand explanations from public agencies, including INEC, and to hold them accountable.
“However, it is always important that caution is exercised, so that such interventions do not unwittingly sow doubts in the public mind, thereby diminishing public confidence and trust in the electoral process,” he said.
Okoye said that Nigerians would recall that on July 31, the commission suspended the CVR to commence supplemental activities that would culminate in the integration of new registrants into the final register of voters for the 2023 general election.
“It Is important to reiterate that no new registrant has yet been added to the Register of Voters for the 2023 General Election or will be included until these supplemental activities have been completed, in line with the law.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we restate the main components of these activities.
“First, the commission is conducting a comprehensive Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) clean-up of the registration data by scrutinising every record.
“Based on the Electoral Act 2022, any record that does not meet all the criteria for inclusion as stipulated in Section 10, including the appearance in person by the registrant at the registration venue with proof of identity, age and nationality and our business rules requirements of adequate number of fingerprints and clear pictures, will be invalidated.
“Further, in line with Section 19 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022, after the ABIS and clean-up, the commission shall appoint a period of seven days, during which the register will be published for scrutiny by the public for objections and complaints.
“Finally, it is only after the clean-up and claims and objections have been completed that the final register will be published,” he said.
Okoye said that INEC would continue to provide the public with update on the progress made on the processes.
“The ABIS for the period of registration between Jan. 15 and July 31 is being concluded presently, and the outcome, in terms of multiple and ineligible records, will be made public.
“For instance, in Oru East Local Government Area of Imo, where the commission allegedly registered ineligible persons, 3,316 ineligible registrants have so far been invalidated and the process is still ongoing,” he said.
Okoye appealed to Nigerians to await the commission’s display of the voter register for claims and objections, to enable them to raise any concerns that they might have on the registration.
He reiterated that “ABIS was robust and would detect practically all ineligible records for removal.
“Nigerians should be reassured of the commission’s commitment to the credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria.
“We appeal for your support, while we painstakingly deal with the clean-up of the register and other processes that will guarantee that the general election in 2023 is free, fair, credible and inclusive,” he said.