Women displaying their Permanent Voter’s Card
Nigerians are said to have a problem with meeting their commitments on time.
In many different national endeavours, Nigerians have been seen rushing at the last minute to complete tasks in an allotted amount of time.
This manifested itself in the implementation of the use of seat belts, the registration of BVN and NIN, and the registration of PVCs.
As with the PVC registration, there is typically an extension of the deadline; however, this has not stopped the clamour for an even further extension.
Despite the fact that the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC extended the registration period, there were calls from many people and organisations, including Civil Society Organizations, for an even longer extension.
SERAP recently threatened to file a lawsuit against INEC if the latter does not ‘re-extend’ the registration period that was already been extended and is now complete.
INEC released a timetable indicating quarterly schedules for the exercise.
Starting on July 1, 2021, the first quarter of continuous voter registration began, and by the end of the quarter, on September 21, 2021, over 3 million new voters had registered.
Over 7m not eligible to vote
The registration process continued until the electoral umpire set June 30 as the CVR deadline ahead of the 2023 election.
It was extended until July after a Federal High Court in Abuja issued an order preventing the Commission from terminating the registration.
According to the commission’s data, 10,487,972 Nigerians pre-registered online.
As of the deadline, INEC reported that over 7 million people had failed to complete the pre-registration process after registering online, accounting for over 67% who will not be eligible to receive a voter card before the 2023 general election and will thus be unable to vote.
However, according to INEC, only 3,444,378 Nigerians (32.8%) completed the process at a physical centre.
Call for extension
Why was an extension requested when registration was open for a year? Could it be the widely held belief in a rush at the last minute, aka African time?
The commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye stated that any further extension of the CVR will have a negative impact on the commission’s timeline and schedule of activities, leading to unintended consequences.
The commission spaced out the registration over a period of one year and granted an extension, and the exercise must come to an end as it cannot go on ad infinitum. The exercise must end to enable the commission to carry out de-duplication and remove multiple and double registrants,” he added.
According to a sample of people, the tedious registration procedure is a significant obstacle.
Poor network service and traffic on the website as a result of too much data; the crowd at the physical centres, and insufficient facilities and personnel on the ground for registration were also blamed for the inability of some prospective voters to register.
It has been proposed that INEC should make the procedure of obtaining a voter card continuous in light of the fact that people reach the age of ‘eligibility-to-vote’ at different times and should not necessarily be required to wait until specific periods to get registered.
Writing by Hadiza Abdulrahman; Editing by Saadatu Albashir