By Gift Olivia Samuel
As Monday, June 28, 2021 draws nearer for the nationwide resumption of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has appealed to the Media to support the Commission.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal on Monday at the second quarterly meeting with Media Organizations which was held in Abuja, where he disclosed that the Commission is introducing a portal to enable eligible Nigerians to commence registration as voters online before completing the exercise physically at designated centres nationwide.
He noted that this is the first time a major exercise of this nature is handled partially online, consistent with the Commission’s commitment to continue to deepen the use of technology in the electoral process in Nigeria.
According to him, “Just like the expansion of voter access to Polling Units, the Commission appeals to the media for support so that this novel idea will also be successful”.
While noting that the CVR exercise will last over a period of at least one year and targets 20 million voters, he added that the success of the exercise depends to a considerable extent on citizens’ awareness through voter education.
In his words, “There will be new registrants, requests for intra-State and inter-State transfers as well as the replacement of voters’ cards as provided by law. Furthermore, with the relocation of voting points to underserved areas as autonomous polling units, there is a need for massive publicity so that citizens are familiar with their voting locations well ahead of all forthcoming elections.
“We appeal for your partnership to achieve this goal”, he said.
The Commission also demonstrated the procedure for the proposed online registration and also presented the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) to the Media.
Responding on behalf of Media Organisations, the President, National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, said that when the electoral body and the media unites, there will be a fertile ground for democracy to thrive.
He said, “…I am also happy that last time, the issue of online involvement in electoral matters also featured. I am happy that today, in line with global reality, the INEC has welcomed online involvement and the process of digitizing our electoral system has just started and it is quite quite commendable”.
He assured INEC of the support and commitment of the Media at all times, adding that the present crop of media professionals will be available to give the Commission necessary support.
In a Communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, following extensive deliberations, it resolved as follows:
- That the Commission be commended for successfully expanding voter access with the creation of additional 56,872 polling units.
- That the creation of the additional polling units will improve voter access to electoral services and facilitate increased participation of marginalized and vulnerable groups in the electoral process.
- That the Commission’s effort at deepening the use of electoral technology by creating the on-line pre-registration portal is a welcome development.
- That the CVR exercise would commence on 28th June 2021 with an online pre-registration for a period of three (3) weeks.
- That the CVR exercise scheduled to take place in 2,673 designated centres nationwide be devolved to the INEC LGA/Area Council Offices based on a thorough appraisal of the security situation and other related factors.
- That the CVR exercise be gradually devolved to the other designated registration centres nationwide after further assessment of the security situation and other factors relating to the safety of personnel and materials.
- That the Media will support the Commission to intensify voter education, especially on the CVR exercise to ensure that all eligible voters are mobilized to register and participate fully in the electoral process.
- That all relevant stakeholders, especially political parties, traditional institutions, religious leaders and Civil Society Organisations should mobilise all eligible registrants to participate in the CVR process.