As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prepares to resume the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR), the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has appealed to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to continue to support the Commission by increasing citizens’ awareness through voter education.
Prof. Yakubu made the appeal on Friday at the the second quarterly meeting with CSOs in Abuja, where he stated that with the relocation of voting points to underserved areas as autonomous polling units, there is need for massive publicity so that citizens are familiar with their voting locations well ahead of elections.
He disclosed that the Commission will soon make available a lot of advocacy materials, adding that INEC will work with CSOs to ensure the widest possible outreach.
According to him, “Working together with you, we have in no small measure deepened our democracy by expanding citizens’ access to the ballot box. This historic accomplishment was also made in record time. It took just four months (February to June 2021) to solve a 25-year-old problem.
“It means that if we continue to work together consultatively, no challenge is insurmountable. It is our commitment as a Commission to deepen our collaboration with CSOs”.
He reassured the CSOs that the Commission will continue to consult them on matters critical to the consolidation of Nigeria’s electoral process and democracy.
While noting that the CVR will be a major issue for discussion at the meeting, he announced that the Commission will demonstrate the procedure for the proposed online registration and also present the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) to them.
Speaking on the FCT Area Council elections, he pointed out that 14 political parties have concluded their primaries for the 6 Area Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors, adding that 110 candidates were nominated for Chairmanship/Deputy Chairmanship positions and 362 candidates for Councillorship, making a total 472 candidates vying for 68 elective positions.
Responding on behalf of the CSOs, the Founder, The Albino Foundation and Convener, Disability Inclusion Nigeria, Mr. Jake Epelle, said the CSOs will work together with INEC to engage citizens in voter education.
In his words, “I want to assure you on behalf of my colleagues, that we will do whatever possible that we can to support INEC. INEC will be the first Nigerian Organization that is working tirelessly to make their website disability friendly.
“I will like to thank you for carrying us along and opening up the space for positive, transparent engagement”, he concluded.