INEC: Nigerians’ Faith in Commission, Electoral Process Has Grown Greatly

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• Commends success of CVR in Delta
Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The Administrative Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Edo State, Mrs Rose Orianran-Anthony, has said that Nigerians have generally embraced INEC and democratic process in the country since the restoration of democratic system in 1999.

Orianran-Anthony noted that the huge pessimism that enveloped the country in 1999 has since given way to increased faith in the commission and the electoral recess such that Nigerians have even fully embraced technological innovations into the process, including the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and the Electronic Card Reader.
She made the remarks while briefing newsmen on the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise in Delta State, at the INEC office in Asaba yesterday.

The introduction and acceptance by Nigerians of several technological devices, including the electronic voter card-reader and PVC irrespective of initial criticisms and pessimism, signaled the fact that democracy in Nigeria has not only come of age but has come to stay, she said.
The display of the voter register also commenced across the state yesterday (Monday) to enable people make claims and possible objections where information were not correctly captured or fraud suspected, she said.

“Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) is an exercise meant for the registration of Nigerian citizens who turned 18 years of age after the last registration exercise or those who, for one reason or another, could not register in the previous exercises,” she stressed. “It is also for those who registered, have their TVCs (temporary voter’s card) but whose names are not in the register of voters due to incorrect date capture.”

She stressed that the continuous voter registration exercise is one of the major statutory obligations of INEC based on the country’s amended electoral Act of 2010. “The 2010 Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) mandates the Commission to carry out CVR nation-wide and to make available to every political party within 60 days. After each year, the names of the addresses of each person registered during that year.

“In pursuance of this requirement, the commission on Thursday, April 27, 2017 commenced the CVR exercise at the INEC local government offices nationwide.”

She said registration for the PVC cannot and should not be done by proxy as the the potential holder must submit himself or herself at the registration centres for the necessary capture of his personal data.

The state administrative secretary said only the appropriate authorities in the INEC headquarters in Abuja could make authoritative statement about the actual financial outlay of the CVR exercise because most of the materials and but observed that the exercise was being conducted at a huge cost.

Oriaran-Anthony disclosed that a total of 71,039 persons registered cross the 25 local government areas of the state during the first quarter of the CVR that ended on July 20, 2017.
In consideration of the plight of eligible citizens in areas with particularly difficult terrain, 12 additional centres have been duly approved by INEC for the purpose of effectively carrying out the continuous voter registration.

“The commission graciously approved 12 additional registration centres in Delta State,” she noted, adding that this was after considering the “various challenges of distance and difficult riverine terrain” faced by some eligible registrants in accessing the registration centres located in local government offices, noting that new centres have helped greatly in enhancing the process in Delta State.

Even with the likelihood of this figure dropping significantly after the pool of data would have been appropriately sifted by the electronic system, the figure of over 71,000 recorded in Delta State during the period under review is still remarkably and indicative of increased interest in the democratic process and elections by the citizens.

A breakdown of the figure shows that Ughelli North and Oshimili South local government areas recorded the highest number of persons were captured under the ongoing CVR exercise in the state with 4,423 and  4,250, respectively.

Nevertheless, the lowest figures captured under the CVR exercise in the state were in Warri North Local Government Area with 779, Ndokwa West with 1,792, Aniocha North (1,888), Ethiope East (1,898) and Sapele with 1900 persons registered.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had, during the general meeting of the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Asaba last weekend, appealed to the party members to encourage more participation in the exercise by eligible citizens as that was the basic and surest way of exercising their voting right at elections in the country.