The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made it clear that it doesn’t owe any Nigerian apology over the Voter’s Registration which deadline expired a couple of weeks ago.
Reacting to a judicial action embarked on by some 24 Nigerians purportedly on behalf of seven million others over INEC alleged failure to capture them in the registration before the deadline, the Commission said that it gave adequate publicity and time for such people to register.
In a statement today, September 19, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee in the Commission, Festus Okoye insisted no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration.
The statement read:
The attention of the Commission has been drawn to media reports that some seven million Nigerians who applied for online pre-registration as voters during the last nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) were denied the opportunity to complete their registration and consequently the collection of their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). This claim is misleading.
To set the record straight, Nigerians may recall that on 28th June 2021, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters. By doing so, citizens were given the opportunity to commence the registration online and then book for an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres. It was a novel idea leveraging on technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete thier registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.
In the interest of transparency, the Commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise.
For the online pre-registration, a total 10,487,972 commenced the process. However, by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the Commission’s policy. Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration. Again, the Commission made the information public. This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.
A breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations is as follows:
1. 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration instead.
2. 2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres before the deadline.
Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration.
We appeal citizens to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh hour extension of set deadlines.