•Presents revised voting framework, regulations for IDPs
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), yesterday, said it was working towards publishing a comprehensive list of registered voters ahead of the 2023 elections.
Also, yesterday, INEC presented its 2022 Revised Framework and Regulations for Voting by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) draft policy document to stakeholders for review and validation in preparation for the election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this at a stakeholders’ validation meeting for the 2022 revised framework and regulations for voting by Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Abuja.
Yakubu said the list would integrate the fresh voters registered at the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) to the existing register of over 84 million voters.
Faulting claim by a section of the civil society groups that INEC was not willing to display the register, he said, “At a media briefing yesterday, the commission was accused of failure to display the voters’ register as provided by Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022. This claim is incorrect.
“What the commission displayed for claims and objections in our local government area offices nationwide for a period of one week, from Aug. 15 to August 21, was not the entire register of voters.
“It was the list of fresh registrants at the end of the fourth and last quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise covering the period from April 11 to July 31.This has been the practice for several years.”
Yakubu said the commission had displayed the register three times: from Sept. 24 to Sept. 30, 2021 (First Quarter), Dec. 24 to Dec. 30, 2021 (Second Quarter) and March 26 to April 1 2022 (Third Quarter).
He said a comprehensive schedule of the CVR and the display of the register was shared with stakeholders at the commission’s quarterly meeting just before the inception of the exercise in June 2021.
“We wish to assure Nigerians that the commission will display the comprehensive register in all the 8,809 wards and 774 local government areas/area councils nationwide as envisaged in Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022. This will integrate fresh voters registered under the last CVR to the existing register of over 84 million voters.
“The date will be announced as soon the commission completes the ongoing Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) to weed out all double/multiple as well as ineligible registrants. We appeal to some of our friends in civil society organisations to be guided accordingly,” Yakubu said.
Presenting the draft policy document of the 2022 Revised Framework and Regulations for Voting by IDPs, to stakeholders for review and validation in preparation for 2023 General Election, Yakubu said the idea was to ensure that no eligible Nigerian was left out of the electoral process on account of displacement, disability or other circumstances.
His words: “Today, the same policy has been revised and is being presented to stakeholders for review and validation in preparation for the 2023 general election. The idea is to ensure that no eligible Nigerian is left out of the electoral process on account of displacement, disability or other circumstances that may limit citizens’ participation in the electoral process.
“What is presented to stakeholders today has taken into consideration several developments since the last review and validation exercise in 2018. First, is the increased number of IDPs as a result of widespread insecurity nationwide. Secondly, to incorporate not only the displaced citizens arising from armed conflicts but also natural emergencies such as flooding.
“Thirdly, to align the framework with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, specifically Section 24(1) which empowers the Commission to ensure that, as far as practicable, no Nigerian is disenfranchised on account of displacement by emergency situations. Finally, to align the framework with the national policy on internally displaced persons 2021.”
Yakubu urged stakeholders to contribute to the discussion at the validation meeting to enrich the framework as well as the regulations for voting by IDPs, saying INEC look forward to a robust collaboration with stakeholders for voter education and sensitisation of IDPs.