The fourth quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise which commenced on the 11th of this month will end on the 30th of June this year.
To this end, anyone who fails to register before the June deadline would wait until after the 2023 general election.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu stated this in Abuja while briefing newsmen on the progress of the CVR.
Professor Yakubu said in restarting the CVR, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration system as part of efforts to improve the electoral process and ensure that Nigerian voters have the best voting experience.
This innovation according to him, makes it possible for intending registrants and already registered voters who may have issues with their registration to commence the process online and subsequently complete it in person at a Registration Centre of their choice.
He said this has worked tremendously well based on the reports we have received so far.
The INEC Chairman Professor Yakubu said the challenge the commission had faced since the commencement of the CVR is invalid registration despite the introduction of the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) which was more comprehensive and robust system, involving not just fingerprint identification but also the facial biometric recognition.
The INEC boss further explained that many registrants registered again despite repeated warnings by the Commission against this illegal action also there were registrants whose data were incomplete and did not meet the Business Rules for inclusion in the register.
He appealed to the political parties, the media, civil society organizations and the general public to assist the Commission in educating Nigerians about the problem of invalid registration.
He said if at any time in the past one registered to vote, you do not have to reregister unless you had problems with your PVC or fingerprint recognition during accreditation in any previous election, all you need to do was to revalidate your registration by visiting a designated registration centre to recapture your fingerprints and picture.
Other registered persons who may also get involved in the CVR are those whose PVCs are missing or defaced; those whose details need correction and those seeking to transfer from their current places of voting to other locations. These cases do not involve new registration. Apart from these, the CVR is essentially for Nigerians who have attained the age of 18 years and have not registered earlier.
Professor Yakubu said the Commission would establish a dedicated Help Desk for people who need information about the CVR.
Professor Yakubu said after completing the data clean up, the Commission had 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 would be delivered to our State offices across the country over the Easter holiday.
They would be available for collection by the owners in person immediately after the holiday.
No PVC would be collected by proxy.
He said that the available cards only cover those who registered in the First and Second Quarters of the exercise for those who registered between January and March 2022 as well as those who are doing so right now, their PVCs would be ready for collection long before the 2023 General Election.
Ekiti and Osun States
For Ekiti and Osun States the INEC boss said
the cards for all new voters in the two States who registered between June and December 2021 have been printed and would be delivered to the States of the Federation during the Easter break.
For the two States, the Commission also devolved the registration to Ward level and thereafter suspended the exercise.
He said the remaining PVCs for Ekiti State would be ready later this week while those of Osun State would be ready in two weeks.
He gave the assurance that all registered voters would get their PVCs before the two Governorship elections.
On party primaries,
Professor Yakubu said that the dates for all activities in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election, including the conduct of party primaries, are firm and fixed.
He confirmed that ten political parties have served notices to the Commission for the conduct of their primaries.
He admonished all political parties 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.
He said that it was necessary to avoid the unhappy consequences of any breach of the Commission’s Timetable or the Electoral Act.
He appealed to all Nigerians who registered between June and December 2021 to collect their PVCs in person.
As we devolve the voter registration beyond our State and Local Government offices nationwide, the PVCs would also be available at such designated centres in our effort to make the collection easier for voters.
In addition, we will also contact the 1.8 million registrants by email and text messages on the availability of the cards and the places to collect them.
Reporting by Ogochukwu Okoronkwo; Editing by Tina Oyinsan