Onuesoke: Proliferation of Means of Identification is Misplaced Priorities

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Former Delta State gubernatorial aspirant under the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Sunny Onuesoke yesterday lamented that the proliferation of means of identification in Nigeria was a waste of funds, time, human resources and misplacement of priorities.

Onuesoke, at a press conference in Asaba, Delta State wondered why governments duplicate, in a most inefficient manner, different forms of identifications for different events when all that was required was just a credible form of identification.

The PDP Chieftain noted that the information on individuals sought by government for registration of National Identification Number (NIN) already existed in several platforms, including through multiple citizen’s collection data platforms such as the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), international passport, driver’s license, SIM card registration and voters’ card.

He argued that the statutory duty to harmonise and integrate existing data for the purposes of NIN and SIM card registration should not be difficult to carry out since the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) were already members of the Board of the NIMC by virtue of section 2(1)(b) of the NIMC Act.

Onuesoke recalled that in US for example, all that one required to cast his or her vote was identity like a drivers licence and argued that after capturing all the needed information on one’s  driver’s licence, passport, NIN, SIM registration and BVN registration, one does not need to do it all over again for something like Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

“In a country with almost nothing to offer, we have too many IDs that serve no beneficial purpose to the people. What is the essence of multiple identification for the same purpose in Nigeria. This is wasteful.

“You don’t even need an ID  in the United Kingdom. Your name is already there. Just tell them your name and address. Why am I using the US and UK as examples? People will think it is a big thing. African countries like Togo, South Africa and even Ivory Coast use their ID to vote. For Nigeria to work we need a single working ID card.

“I have been saying this. With the records from NIN and BVN, issues like underage voting could be easily tackled. But the identity mess has created another problem. With the BVN, we can ensure each vote is cast just once. Why do we need other biometric data banks when NIBBS has the most trustworthy,” he queried.

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