Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said the on-going continous voters registration exercise nationwide will be ending soon. He made this known during the quarterly meeting with civil society organizations (CSOs) at the Commission’s office in Abuja.

According to the chairman, the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise will be ending on the 30th June 2022.
He said, ” both the online pre-registration as well as the physical registration at designated centres are taking place simultaneously. However, online pre-registrants would require time to schedule appointments to complete their registration physically at designated centers.

For this reason, the Commission has decided to suspend the online registration in the next three weeks to enable the online registrants to complete their registration physically at the designated centres before the exercise is suspended on 30th June 2022.

This according to him, will enable the Commission to clean up the registration data, print the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs)and compile the register ahead of the 2023 General Election.

On the cleaning up of the registration data,the chairman said that, the Commission addressed a Press Conference four weeks ago to present a report on the CVR exercise covering the period from June to December 2021.
“For the first time, the Commission deployed the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) which is a comprehensive and robust system involving not just the fingerprint identification but also the facial biometric recognition. The report of the ABIS is included among the documents in your folders for this meeting. There will also be a presentation on the exercise by our ICT Department”.

He also said that, the Commission has reviewed the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) following the complaints received after the recent Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) held on 12th February 2022; noting that the Commission has just finished the configuration of the BVAS for the Ekiti State Governorship election.

Prof. Yakubu also said that, “beyond the conduct of primaries by political parties, the Commission is required to make Regulations and Guidelines for the implementation of the provisions of the Electoral Act. These Regulations and Guidelines, together with the Constitution and the Electoral Act, constitute the electoral legal framework that govern the conduct of elections. I am glad to report that the Commission will finalise the Regulations and Guidelines next week to guide the conduct of future elections, including the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections as well as the 2023 General Election”.

“There are many progressive provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 which require clear understanding to guide implementation. One of such provisions is the electronic transmission of election results. At this meeting, we will discuss the implementation of the provisions of Sections 60, 62 and 64 of the Electoral Act 2022 regarding the management of election results. We have prepared a document for discussion which is included in your folders for this meeting”.

“Section 54(2) of the Electoral Act makes provision for assistive materials for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
This is another progressive provision of the new Electoral Act. Over the years, we have worked with the disability community in designing some of the assistive materials such as the Braille Ballot Guide and the provision of magnifying glasses for visually challenged voters and posters for the deaf. We are also working together to collect disaggregated data for PWDs to assist the Commission in optimally deploying the assistive materials. To deepen our collaboration, a meeting will be convened as early as next week with the disability community to discuss the implementation of the provisions of the new Electoral Act on inclusivity”, he added.

While commending the Commission for a job Welldone, Mrs Ene Obi, Country Director ActionAid & Convener Civil Society Situation Room who spoke on behalf of the CSOs said the Commission needs to do more to encourage citizens to register and come out to vote saying that that is one of the greatest challenges facing the electoral system.

“Even with the PVCs, a lot of people don’t come out to vote and this is not helping the system. We want the Commission through its department for voters education to create more enlightenment,” she said.

The Civil society organizations also urged the commission to do all within its powers to ensure there is serious improvement on the upcoming Ekiti state election and others.