With barely a month left to INEC’s deadline, over 70 percent of those INEC had thought would register have failed to do so.
The ongoing INEC voter registration has suffered a major drawback as the plan of the Independent National Electoral Commission to register at least 20 million Nigerian voters before the end of June seems unlikely to come to fruition as only 5.8 million people representing 29 percent of INEC’s target have actually registered, as stated in a recent publication by The Punch Newspaper.
According to INEC, as of May 16, 9,238,991 fresh registrants had registered online but of this figure, only 5,845,751 had completed the physical registration process.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had said last year that the commission was expected to register 20 million Nigerians before July this year. The intended target was mostly youths who had crossed the age of 18 since the 2019 elections.
Extension of INEC voter registration impossible
However, with barely a month left to INEC’s deadline, over 70 percent of those INEC had thought would register have failed to do so.
When contacted on the telephone, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the commission would not extend the deadline which is June 30.
He said, “The commission will not extend the CVR (Continuous Voter Registration) which started on June 30 last year. For the first time ever, the commission introduced the online pre-registration option, to make it easier for eligible Nigerians to register.
“As of 7 am on Monday, May 16, there were 9,238,991 fresh registrants. But only 5,845,751 have completed the registration process so far. However, you will agree with me that one year is long enough for a serious individual to register as a voter.
“Anyone who fails to register before June 30 this year will have another opportunity when the CVR resumes after the 2023 general elections.”
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the Convener, Adopt A Goal initiative noted that INEC and other stakeholders had done enough to get citizens registered. He however encouraged the need to sensitise voters to prevent voter apathy.
He said, “INEC and other electoral stakeholders, including CSOs and the media, have done more than enough to get more Nigerians registered.
“We cannot register everyone; what is most important is that INEC has shown good faith and given opportunities to Nigerians to register, while the process has been made easier.
“The number of people already captured in the voter’s register through the 2021/2022 phase of the CVR is a significant improvement that will add to our voting strength.
“Our focus should now be on how to help some persons to transfer their voting points successfully and also how to help those who want to do replacement because we are a nation troubled by instability.
“Most importantly, our focus should be on how to address voter apathy and get at least 50 percent of registered Nigerians to vote i n 2023.”
However despite the ongoing INEC voter registration exercise, many Nigerians are still concerned about what is going to be the outcome of the election as it may devolve into a religious, tribal and partisan battleground just as previous elections.