31st July, 2022
Some residents in the Kuje Area Council of FCT have appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) to enable eligible voters to get registered before the 2023 general elections.
The residents made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Kuje.
They said that those willing to register had been coming out in large numbers in vain.
The exercise, which had been generally peaceful, orderly, and hitch-free at the Kuje INEC office and some registration centers was filled with people on the day of the deadline.
The registrants included people who want to register for new Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), people whose cards had been defaced, and those that wanted to effect transfer to another polling unit.
Mr Abraham Gado, a registrant, said the success of the 2023 general election depended a lot on public perception of INEC as neutral and fair to all.
Gado insisted that a large number of people in the six area councils were yet to register and collect their PVCs.
However, he acknowledged that the deadline for registration had been previously extended but appealed that INEC should consider an extension so as not to disenfranchise anyone.
“If this deadline is not extended, millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised and this may enhance the narrative of not choosing good leaders, which is not good for democracy in Nigeria.
“The extension is very important as it will build public trust towards peaceful electoral outcomes in the 2023 general election,” he said.
Mr Luka Ayuba, another registrant, reminded the electoral umpire of the provisions in the amended Electoral Act, which allowed for the extension of voter registration.
Ayuba described the exercise as tedious and cumbersome, marred by delay in capturing, slow process, and other technical hitches.
He, therefore, appealed for the extension and deployment of more machines to different electoral wards in the area to fast-track their registration and enable the large number of people to be captured.
“This would result in the disenfranchisement of millions of Nigerians willing and eager to perform their civic responsibilities in the 2023 polls.
“Given the foregoing, we call on INEC to extend the Continuous Voters Registration till at least the end of August 2022.
“If the registration is extended it will help compensate for the identified technical difficulties faced and assure Nigerians that INEC is seen to be fair to all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Yakubu Allawa, the Kuje INEC Electoral Officer (EO), said the office had only four functional machines for the entire area council, thereby making the exercise cumbersome.
Allawa said another major challenge the commission was facing was the issue of poor network, which had been slowing down the process during capturing.
He added that adequate priority was being given to Persons with disabilities (PWDs), the elderly, and pregnant women in the area.
“We have been asking people to come out and register for a long time, this mentality of coming out at the last minute has to be discouraged.
“For long people refused to come out to register and now that the closure for the exercise is drawing nearer, people are trooping out in large numbers,” he said.