The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stepped up action to contain the upsurge in the registration of voters in South East Nigeria where there is renewed interest to register.
This was announced in a statement by the spokesman of INEC Mr. Festus Okoye on Friday.
The move followed complaints by many eligible voters in these areas who had been crying out that they were not being attended to or that they were being made to wait endlessly to be registered
Videos of such crowds had been going viral from different states, especially in the South-East geo-political zone while a particularly troubling video from Lagos showed those who came out to register being attacked by thugs.
The Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise is scheduled to end on June 30, though there have been calls for it to be extended to ensure that all eligible voters are registered to vote.
The INEC statement which called for patience and understanding on the part of Nigerians, assured that “every Nigerian who is 18 years of age and above has the constitutional right to register and vote in any part of the country he/she resides without let or hinderance,” explaining that “the sudden surge is an affirmation of the increasing confidence Nigerians have in our electoral process” and pledged that “the Commission will continue to ensure that this confidence is sustained.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received reports from our States indicating an unprecedented surge in the number of citizens that wish to register as voters and the challenges they face across the country. In some States, the sudden turnout of prospective registrants is overwhelming.
Consequently, the Commission convened an urgent meeting with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) yesterday Thursday 9th June 2022 to review the situation so that eligible Nigerians who wish to register are able to do so. The necessity to urgently deploy more voter enrolment machines to ease the congestion at the registration centres was identified as a priority.
In response, the Commission has immediately released additional 209 machines deployed mainly to the five South Eastern States, Lagos and Kano where the pressure is most acute.
The Commission will monitor the situation over the next few days. Thereafter, it will meet to review the progress of the exercise.
Every step will be taken and all options will be explored to ensure that eligible Nigerians are given the opportunity to register as voters.
The Commission appeals for patience and understanding of all citizens. Every Nigerian who is 18 years of age and above has the constitutional right to register and vote in any part of the country he/she resides without let or hinderance.
The sudden surge is an affirmation of the increasing confidence Nigerians have in our electoral process. The Commission will continue to ensure that this confidence is sustained.
Barr. Festus Okoye
Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee
Friday 10th June 2022