• First step against rigging begins, says Secondus
Adedayo Akinwale and Mercy Apollos in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that over 300,000 ineligible voters were dropped after the Automatic Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) screened out their names.
The commission noted that that was part of effort aimed at ensuring a clean voters’ register ahead of 2019 general election.
Consequently, the electoral body will today publish the voters’ register across the country.
This is coming as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, urged voters to troop out to their various polling booths to check their names during the four-day display of the voters’ register as the first step against rigging the 2019 elections.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when ECOWAS Pre- Election Fact-Finding Mission paid him a courtesy visit at the commission’s headquarters, where he assured the group that the commission would continue to perfect and improve it processes and deliver logistics and the 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 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 registrations.
Yakubu said based on the provision of the law, the commission would between November 6 and 12, 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 Nigerians 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 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 has said the desire to rescue Nigeria from the clueless All Progressives Congress (APC) government would be meaningless if everything pertaining to voting is not sorted out ahead of the 2019 elections.
The PDP national chairman in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Aide, Mr. Ike Abonyi, stressed that the essence of the four-day display as stipulated by the Electoral Act is to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised, adding that this is 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.