The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will not extend the voter registration exercise because doing so will hamper its preparations for the 2023 general elections, Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mike Igini said on Friday.
Igini stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, saying that INEC having officially suspended the CVR process, what is next for the commission is to consolidate; aggregate the data and thereafter run the biometric accreditation system to weed out all multiple registrants.
“Thereafter, Section 19 [Electoral Act 2022] says we must do a one-week display of the voter register for the commission to accept claims; objections as it relates to either omitted names or names of individuals that ought not to be on that register as identified by people in the area.
“And how do you do that? You have to produce the preliminary register of voters for this purpose which means they have to be millions of these would-be voters. That will be posted in the entire wards and local governments of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that is a huge work,” he said.
He further said that INEC would equally produce and distribute the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to the new registrants.
“So, there is a whole lot to be done,” he said, explaining that Section 17 of the Electoral Act only allows the commission to stop voter registration less than and not exactly 90 days to the election. And “it is not only this that INEC will be doing,” he added.
According to Igini, Nigerians should rather be concerned about voter turnout in the next election despite the outcry that greeted the suspension of the registration.
“What gives spice to the practice of democracy is mass participation,” the Akwa Ibom REC said.
He, meanwhile, said he was satisfied with the recent wave of enthusiasm by Nigerians in the electoral process, likening it to what happened in the country in the lead-up to the 1993 poll.
INEC suspended voter registration on July 31 but many Nigerians are still appealing to the electoral body to extend the exercise.