The Independent National Electoral Commission has unveiled a total of 1,854,859 Permanent Voter Card for the First and Second Quarters of the Continuous Voter Registration exercise in the country.

Unveiling the PVCs at a press conference on the outcome of the First and Second Quarters of the CVR exercise, the commission’s chair Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said from 28th June to 2oth December 2021 millions of Nigerians have utilized both the online and physically registration process, thus yielding to the massive turnout of registrants ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Since the commencement of the first and second quarter of the CVR exercise in June 2021, the pre-registration option has 1,014,382 registrants who completed the process while 1,509,076 Nigerians registered in person at the commission’s designated registration centers nationwide.

However,  671,106 Nigerians submitted requests to update their records, transfer their registration from where they are currently registered to other locations, or the replacement of their lost or damaged PVCs.

Consequently, these achievements are attributed to the introduction of the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) which is more comprehensive and robust in involving not just fingerprint identification but also facial biometric recognition.

Aimed at tackling the Commission’s determination to counter previous challenges of building credible elections in the country.

Speaking further, the Commission’s chair Prof. Mahmood Yakubu noted that part of the measures put in place is to continually clean up the data to ensure that only eligible Nigerians are registered to guarantee hitch-free elections.

Unfortunately, the troubling issue of invalid registration still persists which we detected while cleaning up the latest registration data.

Sadly, it seems that many registrants, either out of ignorance that they do not need to re-register if they had done so before, or a belief that our systems will not detect this infraction, have gone out to register again. This is despite repeated warnings by the Commission against this illegal action. In addition, there are also registrants whose data were incomplete and did not meet our Business Rules for inclusion in the register. Both categories i.e. the failure of ABIS and incomplete data constitute invalid registrations. Presently, nearly 45% of completed registrations nationwide are invalid, rising to as high as 60% or more in some States. This infraction happened in all states of the Federation. No State is immune from it. These invalid registrations will not be included in the Register of Voters.

This development is worrisome because of the time and resources expended in handling these cases. Even more disturbing are the strong indications that some of our staff may be complicit in facilitating these infractions, notwithstanding stern warnings. Consequently, the Commission is reviewing reports on such staff and has commenced a detailed investigation which may include the prosecution of those found culpable. Specific registrants associated with these infractions by our staff may also face prosecution in line with Sections 22 and 23 of the Electoral Act 2022.”

Speaking generally on the PVCs collection among newly registrants as well as the upcoming Ekiti and Osun state governorship elections Mahmood hinted that the PVCs will be delivered to them in person, particularly those who registered between June and December 2021, adding that the commission’s priority is to ensure total inclusion in the entire process.

“After completing the data clean-up, the Commission has printed 1,390,519 PVCs for genuine new registrants. In addition, 464,340 PVCs for verified applicants for transfer or replacement of cards have also been printed. Consequently, a total of 1,854,859 PVCs are now ready. They will be delivered to our State offices across the country over the Easter holiday. They will be available for collection by the actual owners in person immediately after the holiday. No PVC will be collected by proxy. I must reiterate that the available cards only cover those who registered in the First and Second Quarters of the exercise. The Commission wishes to assure those who registered between January and March 2022 as well as those who are doing so right now that their PVCs will be ready for collection long before the 2023 General Election.

To begin with, the cards for all new voters in the two States who registered between June and December 2021 have been printed. They are among the cards to be delivered to the States of the Federation during the Easter break. For the two States, the Commission also devolved the registration to the Ward level and thereafter suspended the exercise. The remaining PVCs for Ekiti State will be ready later this week while those of Osun State will be ready in two weeks. All registered voters will get their PVCs before the two Governorship elections.”

Meanwhile, on the issues of party primaries, the Commission’s chair reiterate its stand on the published dates for all activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, hence enjoining all political parties to adhere strictly to the rules to avoid unhappy consequences of any breach of the Commission’s Timetable or the Electoral Act.

“Already, ten political parties have served notices to the Commission for the conduct of their primaries. With 52 days to the last day for the conduct of primaries (i.e. 3rd June 2022), political parties are once again admonished to adhere strictly to all dates in the Timetable, including the nomination of their candidates via the INEC web portal. Such nominated candidates must emerge from valid primaries as provided in Section 84 of the Electoral Act 2022. This is necessary to avoid the unhappy consequences of any breach of the Commission’s Timetable or the Electoral Act.”

The commission is of the firm belief that some of these invalid registrations may have arisen out of ignorance, to this end, they are establishing a dedicated Help Desk for people who need information about the CVR to address the needs of Nigerians about registration status or whether they should register or not, while citizens who have no access to the internet can ask the Registration Officer at the Registration Centre before proceeding, as all registrants whose PVC’s are ready will be contacted by email and text messages on the availability of the cards and the places of collection.

 

 

 

 

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