The House of representatives has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend the voters registration deadline by an extra 60 (sixty) days from June 30, 2022, to enable Nigerians register.
The House also mandated its Committee on Electoral Matters to engage the Independent National Electoral Commission to examine and proffer solutions to the shortage of registration machines and manpower and deploy an additional 30 voter registration machines in each local government area, train and deploy ad-hoc staff to improve the shortage of manpower at registration centres, provide security for the Ad-hoc staff and report back within two (2) weeks.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to Extend the Deadline of Continuous Voters Registration, Deploy additional Staff and Voters Registration Machines Across the Country moved by Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu at plenary presided over by the speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday.
Kalu noted that the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was scheduled to end on 30 June 2022, ahead of the 2023 General Election.
He added that the decision to suspend the voters’ registration was in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 which requires INEC to suspend voters’ registration at least 60 days before an election.
He recalled that in April 2022, INEC declared that about 42% of the voter registrations recorded since the commencement of Continuous Voters Registration on 28 June, 2021 were invalid with about 20 million unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
Cognizant of the large numbers of unregistered eligible voters willing to be registered as evidenced by crowd seen at various registration centres resulting in congestion, Kalu stated that reports of shortages of voter registration machines, inadequate manpower and personnel at registration centres may lead to frustrations among prospective registrants and in some cases, unrest at some registration centres.
He expressed concerns over calls from concerned Citizens and Civil Societies urging INEC to extend the voters’ registration deadline to accommodate eligible voters desiring to register for their Permanent Voters Cards.
“The right to vote is critically important to the health and legitimacy of our democracy, as well as electoral integrity.
“If nothing is done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment and extend the deadline for voters registration, millions of Nigerians will be disenfranchised, thus jeopardizing the integrity of the 2023 General Elections,” he said.