Rotimi Oyekanmi, chief press secretary to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, has said the commission has yet to decide upon when to halt the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise.
He made this statement to the ICIR in reaction to a report that INEC “is being pressured to prematurely halt the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise by powerful political interests”.
Oyekanmi explained that sufficient time is needed to complete “certain processes” between the time a person registers and the time the voter’s card is issued, and “this could take about 180 days”.
“Since the Commission wants every new registrant to get his or her PVC, it may be expedient to stop the CVR in good time for the processes to be completed,” he said.
“And pray, how is that connected with the allegation that some powerful people are putting pressure on the INEC Chairman?
“Ideally, the CVR could stop 60 days to the general elections. But those who register in December 2018 may not be able to collect their PVCs before the February 16 election, due to the processes that must take place between the time you register and when the PVCs are printed.
“Those who are certain to collect their PVCs are those who can register by July ending for instance. That is the challenge. And remember, the Electoral Act says ‘not later than 60 days’. Note that the Commission has not yet decided on when to stop the current CVR exercise.”
The INEC chief press secretary also noted that over 7 million new voters have been registered by the commission within a year, and asked why this is not as well reported.
“INEC started the Continuous Voter Registration for the first time in the history of the Commission in April 2017 and so far, over 7 million new voters have been captured,” he said. “Think about this – within a year. Is this not commendable?”
'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.