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INEC detects double registration by prospective voters

TRUE to its claim of ability to expose all manner of fraud in the recently concluded voters registration, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has detected double listing by prospective voters in many states.

And as the display of voters lists is expected to end today across the country, there have been reports of low turn out of people to check for their names and call for rectification of any noticeable anomalies, prompting calls on Nigerians to massively participate in the exercise. In some states, the INEC has been criticized for not being able to display the lists days after the exercise started.
In Imo State, about 11,000 out of 1,683,237 million people registered indulged in double registration, according to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Prof. Selina Oko.
Fielding questions from journalists in Owerri, Oko disclosed that a software device which was installed in the Direct Data Capturing (DDC) machines exposed those who indulged in double registration in the state. According to the REC, the DDC machine printers identified the double registrations and isolated them.
“We registered over 1.6 million people, but now have detected all those who did double registration. We still have over 1.6 million. About 11,000 people were detected to have registered more than once,” the INEC chief said.
In Rivers State, the display of voters’ register is devoid of the rush that characterized the registration process. The Guardian check at some of the wards in Port Harcourt, revealed that a few people indicated interest in the exercise.
At Ward 14 in Port Harcourt, The Guardian learnt that there were a few reported cases of names that were not spelt correctly and multiple registration.
Those whose registered but could not find their names on the register as well as those whose names were not spelt correctly were issued a form by INEC ad hoc staff to fill in order for their complains to be addressed.
The REC Aniedi Ikoiwak,  described the turn out for the verification exercise as hitch free.
On the issue of multiple registration, Ikoiwak said it was being taken care of by the commission which is already matching the various fingers prints with units and wards in local councils in the state. According to him, at the end of this process, the final list would then be submitted to Abuja.
“We are calling on the people of the state to check their names so that whatever correction that needs to be made now is done,” he said.
Low turnout for the exercise was also recorded in the Delta State capital of Asaba.  At Uzoigwe Primary School, three ad hoc officials of the INEC explained that the response by prospective voters was very discouraging.
“We are always here by 8 a.m and don’t leave till 4.00pm. The exercise ends tomorrow. I am not sure if it will be extended as a result of apathy by voters. People come in trickles to check for their names and also to ensure that the information they gave were correctly entered,” one of them said.
Also at the Anglican Girls’ Grammar School (AGGS), some corps members employed by the commission for the exercise dozed off under a tree as they waited for people to come check their names on the register.
The display of voters’ lists started  in Kano State as scheduled. However the exercise is carried out in piecemeal.
As at Wednesday, the Kano office of INEC had displayed the lists in 18 of the 44 councils.
The Kano REC, Alhaji Abdullah Umar Danyaya, disclosed that voters that had their list displayed in any of the councils would have a grace of five days, to check for their names at designated centres.
Danyaya  explained that the cleaning up exercise is ongoing, promising to expeditiously look into any claims and objections arising from the exercise.
From Cross River State was a report that the voters’ lists were yet to be displayed anywhere while in Anambra State, many people are yet to see the lists pasted.
Explaining why the registers have not been pasted in Cross River State, the REC Mr. Mike Igini, said he was not going to rush and do the wrong thing because other states had already started pasting the names.
According to him, all the registered voters’ data had to be collated and screened so that what would be pasted would be an authentic list.
He said that so far, the commission had identified many cases of multiple registration and these also would be pasted separately.   “We are not going to be in a hurry and paste names like some other states that are pasting the names raw as collected from the field and this may cause problems. We are going to do what is right,’’ he insisted.
When The Guardian visited the INEC office in Ihiala, Anambra State,  the electoral officer in charge, Mr. Gerald Uba claimed that the display of voters list started on Tuesday, adding that his officers had covered 200 out of the 278 polling units in Ihiala area.

“The lists are virtually displayed in about 200 units.  They are at Nbosi, Uli, Azia, Lilu, Umuoma and Umuchima. Some of the wards’ materials are being sorted out as I am talking to you, but have not been displayed,” he said.
But, a visit to St Martins Primary School Odata-Uzoakwa, Holy Ghost Juniorate, Ihiala and Uzoakwu Central School 1 reveals that the exercise has not started. It was the same discovery at Udoka, Akughali ward 1 and Market II in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi North where less than 50 wards were said to have witnessed any form of display of lists out of the 326 wards.

Reacting to the development, the traditional ruler of Ihiala, Igwe Cosmos Okechukwu expressed surprise that INEC could not enlighten the public on the verification exercise.
When contacted, the REC, Prof. Chukwuemeka Onukogu said officials were still sorting and working on the registers gathered from across the state, promising to brief the press when the process is completed. “Right now, we are collating, aggregating and will later print out the names,” Onukogu said, but failed to give the date for the display to start.
In Lagos State, the REC, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola appealed to Lagosians to go and check their names and make other verifications as the commission displays the voters’ lists across the state.
Ogunmola told The Guardian yesterday that Lagosians were yet to take the verification serious. He explained that the few complaints lodged with the commission had been addressed.
According to him, “about 35 people from Mushin area lodged complaints that they did not have voter’s cards, some complained of wrong spelling of their names while others said their names did not appear on the list despite that they registered.
“I want to appeal to Lagosians to go out and verify their names on the lists,” he said. Many resident of Egbeda and Alimosho areas of Lagos, according to him, are not yet aware of the ongoing verification exercise.
Meanwhile, INEC has reiterated its determination to produce error-free voters’ lists for the April elections. The commission has also confirmed that the final figure for the total number of registered voters has shot up from the earlier projected 66 million to 67.7 million.
The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, in a chat with newsmen confirmed that as expected, cases of multiple registration had been established in some centres, but said it was too early to give details until all the data collected from the field are analysed.
His words: “Cases of multiple registrations have already been detected, and deleted. High profile cases would be isolated and treated as such. As you may know, some people are already answering questions and are being prosecuted concerning abuses during voters’ registration.  I assure you that more of such would come up, but it will be too premature at this stage to speak on specific number of those involved.”
The INEC official confirmed that cases of similar malpractices were being prosecuted.  Those being prosecuted  are those accused of diverting DDC machines, stealing the machines and putting them to unofficial use.
Asked how long the clean up exercise is likely to last, Idowu said it is expected to herald the eventual printing of the voters’ register on March 2 this year. “Every other thing between when the display closes tomorrow (today) and March 2 that the certified register will be published, will be done internally because it is in-house that we will do the cleaning up of the data,” he said.
-Guardian

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