• First step against rigging starts, says Secondus
Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that over 300,000 ineligible voters were dropped after the Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) screened out the names, as part of effort aimed at ensuring a clean voters’ register ahead of the 2019 general election.
This is coming as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has urged voters to troop out to their various polling booths to check their names as INEC displays the voters’ register at all polling units across the country from Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Monday in Abuja when ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact Finding Mission paid him a courtesy visit at the commission’s headquarters, where he assured them that the commission would continue to perfect and improve its processes, delivery of logistics and functionality of technology.
According to him, “For the registered voters…as at last week before I travelled, I was told that over 300,000 names were dropped, after the Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS). But in cleaning the voters’ register is not just the responsibility of the commission, it is also the responsibility of every Nigerian.”
AFIS is a system used by the electoral body to check for multiple registration.
Yakubu said that based on the provision of the law, the commission would between the 6th and 12th of November display the voters’ register for claims and objections in 120,000 polling units nationwide.
He said: “I will like to use this opportunity to appeal to the citizens to check when we displayed the register so that they can draw the attention of the commission to the prevalence if any of any ineligible person so that we can further clean up the voters’ register.
“Let me say that, as far as the commission is concerned, we are prepared and we have to be preparing for the 2019 general election. In fact, we can say that the 2019 general election is perhaps the most deliberately well planned elections in our history.”
The electoral body said it would conduct elections into 1,558 constituencies in 2019, including one presidential constituency, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies, 29 governorship elections, 991 state constituencies and 68 constituencies in the FCT for the area council, the chairmen and councillors, making a total of 1,558 constituencies.
On his part, the leader of the delegation, Mohammed Ali Monte, said that the visit was aimed at getting an update on the preparation of INEC ahead of the 2019 elections.
He added that the delegation also wanted to know the condition under which the election would be conducted to gather information from INEC on how prepared the commission is.
Meanwhile, Secondus said that the desire to rescue Nigeria from the clueless All Progressive Congress (APC) government would be meaningless if everything pertaining to voting is not sorted out ahead.
Secondus, in a statement Monday by his media aide, Mr. Ike Abonyi, stressed that the essence of the four days display as stipulated by the Electoral Act is to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised and this the first step to avoid it.
According to him, “Cross checking and confirming the details ahead of the election is a mechanism put in place to reduce attempts by the electoral umpires to manipulate the system by saying that names of voters are not available.
“By cross checking and re-cross checking, the voters wittingly would have begun the battle to frustrate rigging of the election.”
Secondus said INEC should ensure that the registers are not only displayed at the polling booths but that the correct ones to be used for the election are the ones on display.
The chairman urged voters who notice issues with their particulars to cry out loudly immediately by going to the electoral centres to complain for rectification.
He said: “Part of the rigging strategy of the APC working in agreement with some INEC staff is to doctor voter’s lists in the opponent’s strongholds to reduce their electoral advantage.
“Please note that if you have a PVC and your name is not on the register, you are as good as a person who has gone into a contest he did not register for and expecting a positive result.”
The PDP chairman therefore noted that Nigerian voters should not take anything for granted if their desire to “rescue our democracy is to be realised”.