Intersociety, an Onitsha-based Civil Society Organisation has raised the alarm on the possibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) denying some 50 million Nigerians the right to vote.
A statement by the group signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chinwe Umeche, and Chidimma Udegbunam said the figure would rise from 30 million that have not been registered and another 20 million yet to get their permanent voters card (PVC)
The group said that from its finding, “no fewer than 30 million citizens of Nigeria involving those in 18 years and above have been denied registration as ‘registered voters’ in Nigeria by the INEC ahead of the all-important 2023 presidential election. Intersociety hereby alerts that no capturing of these 30 million Nigerian citizens or more is ill-conceived and politically motivated.
The group lamented that “the Commission has inexplicably and suspiciously shut down its online fresh voters’ registration portal, thereby shutting out millions of computer literate prospective registrants and forcing millions of others into frustration and registration center accessibility hardships. It must therefore be clearly stated that denying eligible citizens, irrespective of their tribe, religion, gender, and class, their rights to vote (political participation and inclusion) is a serious violation of their fundamental human rights.
“Such chaotic denial also constitutes a serious threat to local, national, regional, and international peace and security. It is also a serious breach of the citizens’ constitutional rights.”
It said that it derived the figures of the citizens to be affected in the suspected denials from “available local and international data and that informed our position of ours. According to the current United Nations population statistics including the Worldometer, which is the world’s live statistics on population, economy, and so on, Nigeria’s estimated population as of June 25, 2022, is 216,225,495, out of which 55% or about 120m represent those in 18 years and above.
By INEC’s recent official statistics tracked in many print and online media, the total registered voters in the country as at February 2019 was 84 million with a fraction of others captured between July 2016 and Dec 2021. INEC also recently announced that as of May 2022, it had registered 10.2m Nigerians, out of which 6.5m were successfully captured; with 4.5m being youths in the 19 and 34 age bracket.
It is most likely correct to say that not less than 30 million eligible citizens in Nigeria have not been registered as voters by INEC. Also, no fewer than 20 million registered voters have been denied their PVC by the Commission. An estimated total of 10 million others presently contained in Nigeria’s National Register of Voters are strongly suspected to still bear the identities of minors and allowed illegal aliens.
In other words, the present National Register of Voters still bears a roguish outlook and can only be credible, nationally acceptable across religious and ethnic divides, and factored in coherence with the Commission’s newly acquired and imputed ‘Voter’s Enrolment Device (IReV)’ and ‘Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System (BVAS)’ when it is cleansed and rid of the minors and aliens and updated to accommodate the 30 million eligible but unregistered Nigerians.
Therefore, the current National Register of Voters for 2023 presidential and general elections can only be widely or country-wide credible and acceptable if it is genuinely cleansed and rid of the 10m minors and illegal aliens as well as dead and dormant citizens.”