There is growing anxiety amongst the eligible voters that are yet to complete their registration for Permanent Voters Cards(PVCs) that empowers one to perform their civic responsibility during elections as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is not going back on the July 31st, 2022, deadline for the termination of the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR).
Prior to the expiration of the deadline for the exercise, there has been last minute rush by eligible voters to INEC’s main and franchise offices to get themselves registered. When The Trumpet visited some of the INEC offices in Delta State, long queues were still observed despite the creation of franchise offices and engagement of Adhoc staff across the state to address the large turnout that were overwhelming the workforce of the electoral umpire.
Currently, staffers of the electoral body are returning all those who have visited their offices for revalidation of voters cards and transfer of voting points, to give full attention to those for fresh registration. One of the affected voters, Ojo Butunde, who spoke to The Trumpet, said he was returned back, that there was no problem with his registration despite explaining to the attending officer that he wanted to transfer his voting point from his home state, Adamawa to Ughelli where he now resides to enable him to exercise his franchise.
According to data released by INEC on Monday, 25th July 2022, Delta State stands at number three in the whole federation in terms of completed new registrations with a total of 481,929 registrants. However, despite this position, there seem to be hundreds of thousands that might just end up being disenfranchised in the state unless something urgent is done by both the government and the electoral umpire.
Reacting to the development, the Delta State Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, Pastor Edewor Ogedegbe, absolved INEC of any blame for failing to capture aspiring voters. He argued that a whole year, with an additional one-month extension was more than enough time for any serious individual to get him or herself registered.
He said, “For me, INEC has done their best so far. This programme started in June last year, it is only recently people became more interested and you also discovered that there was an extension in the quest to get more people registered. The court also has empowered INEC to determine when they can stop their process. So they have given a window of 31 days, which will end tomorrow and the chairman has said they are no longer going to extend it. So for me, INEC is within the law, it is within the act that established it to determine when to end it.
“I think people should be more serious when civic responsibility props up at any time. I was at the INEC office yesterday; the crowd was huge but they are trying as much as they can. So tomorrow, next tomorrow, those that are not able to get captured when the next dispensation comes they should try.
“The lesson to learn is that next time when any process begins, people should take advantage and not wait till the dying minute. It is not totally true that people came out and were not captured, the system is now electronic and no longer manual when you can register anybody. The process needs to run through, and that is not the problem of INEC. I don’t want people to put a negative narrative there, for us as Transition Monitoring Group, we have been following up for upward of like four months now and INEC have been doing their best, I must say that.
“Citizens most times are very impatient with the system because they always want it to be done their way and once it is your way, it may be going contrary to the laid down rules. And that is the problem we have in the society. We are saying, allow the process to evolve, the electoral act has clearly backed up, that, we are going electronic and not manual. There will be network for the process to run through so people have to be patient. That is part of patriotism, if you can’t do it today, go back tomorrow, Nigerians are not ready to give back to the country, they are only interested in what the country wants to give to them.”
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