INEC didn’t deny 7 million Nigerians online registration – Okoye
Story from Ibraheem Hamza MUHAMMAD
The attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been drawn to media reports that some seven million Nigerians who applied for online pre-registration as voters during the last nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) were denied the opportunity to complete their registration and consequently the collection of their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). This claim is misleading.
This was contained in a statement signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee.
Recall that about 24 Nigerians filed a lawsuit against INEC with the claim that they and other seven(7) million Nigerians were not given adequate time and opportunity to complete their voters’ registration after they had carried out their registration online.
He stated, “To set the record straight, Nigerians may recall that on 28th June 2021, the Commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters.
“By doing so, citizens were given the opportunity to commence the registration online and then book an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical biometric capture at designated centres.
“It was a novel idea leveraging technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete their registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.
“In the interest of transparency, the Commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise,” he said.
According to him, for the online pre-registration, a total of 10,487,972 commenced the process. However, by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the Commission’s policy. Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration.
Okoye further noted that the Commission made the information public. “This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.
“A breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations is as follows:
“That 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration instead.
“And 2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical biometric capture at designated centres before the deadline.
“Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration,” the chairman stated.
Okoye appealed for the citizens to always adhere to timelines against the endless agitation for the eleventh-hour extension of set deadlines.