By CYRIL MBAH, Abuja.
The National Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Alhaji Yabagi Sani has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] for working hard to provide a reliable electoral process and for ensuring transparency and strict adherence to global best practices in the recently concluded Continuous Voter Registration [CVR].
Yabagi remarked that the massive turnout of eligible voters should be commended saying it was triggered by the openness and transparency of INEC, the voter sensitisation that followed the exercise and the desire by Nigerians to enthrone good governance in the country.
The IPAC boss, who spoke during a radio Nigeria interactive programme monitored in Abuja, urged the electoral umpire to still allow people, who made mistakes in their voter registration forms, to correct them to avoid disenfranchising too many citizens in the 2023 general elections.
“The high enthusiasm among voters especially the youths came about because people have been so mobilised to ensure that they have a government that represents them well. It was out of the good intension to have a good government that people came out in large numbers to register as voters.
“We are calling on INEC to allow the people who made genuine mistakes to correct them and participate in the elections. INEC has a duty to ensure that the success level of the election will be acceptable to everyone,” Sani said.
He also appealed to INEC to allow political parties to replace the names of candidates who withdrew from the race after their names had been submitted to the commission. This, he said, will be necessary before the publication of the final list of candidates by INEC.
A Director of Voter Education in INEC, Chukwuemeka Ogbuaja, who also appeared at the programme defended the electoral commission for removing the names of many people [about 1.1million] from the voters register stating that those removed made multiple entries and other unacceptable mistakes in their forms.
Ogbuaja said: “We are cleaning the voter register now. The irregularities that were discovered were very obvious. Many people, who had registered earlier, came back to register again. There were so many double registrations.
“The technical staff subjected the data we obtained to thorough tests and about 1. 1 million person’s names were removed for double registration and other irregularities. The electoral process is a work in progress. We have continued to make improvements where necessary and our engineers are still working on the system.
“We have not delisted the people like it was suggested. Rather, INEC cleaned up the register and removed the names that were duplicated, those whose records were not complete and those who gave wrong information.”
Ogbuaja also assured that INEC will not do anything to disenfranchise Nigerians who are eligible to vote stressing that the high number of deleted names came about because many people were misinformed to believe that voter cards obtained before the 2019 general elections were invalid and those who did not register afresh will not be allowed to vote in 2023.
Contributors, who phoned into the programme pleaded with INEC to create a safe window for people with minor registration problems to amend such mistakes to enable them participate in the elections. Ends.