Home » Elections 2011 » Millions may be disenfranchised as INEC draws curtain on voter registration

Millions may be disenfranchised as INEC draws curtain on voter registration

There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission may not extend the voter registration again as the exercise ends today (Saturday).

The commission said in a statement on Thursday that it had registered 54.9m prospective voters out of the projected figure of 62m Nigerians. But there were strong indications on Friday that the commission might deprive millions of Nigerians the right to exercise their civic responsibility in the forthcoming elections.

Findings at the commission showed that INEC was not disposed to extending the exercise.

An investigation by our correspondent, who visited some polling units in the Federal Capital Territory on Friday, showed a large turnout at the registration centres.

Nigerians, who are determined not be left out of the elections in April, besieged the various registration centres as early as 5 am (including this correspondent), but the early arrival at the centre did not amount to much.

By 8 am, the centre at Galadinma, Gwarimpa, Abuja, like others, had become host to over 500 people, who were insisting that tallies given the previous days should be used instead of fresh ones.

With the large turnout, it is clear that hundreds of thousands of Nigerians may not be registered because of the obvious lack of capacity by INEC to register willing Nigerians within the stipulated period.

The current situation contradicts the promise made by the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, to Nigerians on the late deployment of the Direct Data Capturing Machines on January 20, 2011. He said that the commission under his leadership would ensure that all adult Nigerians were registered.

“Our advice is that wherever the machines are deployed, they should allow the exercise to take place.

“The assurance I am giving is that as soon as these machines arrive, we will deploy them; we will take every measure to ensure that every registrable voter is registered if it becomes necessary to even extend in those places so that nobody suffers any consequences.

“It is unfortunate that they are not starting the same time as others, but we are taking measures to make sure that nobody suffers because of the late arrival of the DDC machines.”

But Jega’s assurance to Nigerians may not be sustained as his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said the huge turnout of people at the registration centres showed the habit of Nigerians, who would always wait till the last day of such exercise.

He said that the situation would not be different if the exercise was extended for ten months.

He said, “You see, unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there is a cultural problem, which is entirely not INEC’s making. As I tell people, if you allow a ten-month extension, on the last day of this extension, there will be a spike in the number of people.”


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Posted by on Feb 5 2011. Filed under Elections 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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