INEC targets 100m voters for 2023 polls

From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it is targeting a minimum of 20 million additional registrants in the forthcoming nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise to increase the total number of voters to 100 million ahead of the 2023 general elections.

INEC also pleaded with media organisations to ensure the success of the CVR through massive publicity, emphasising that the exercise scheduled to last a period of at least one year, will depend on citizens’ awareness through voter education.

Commission’s Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, made the appeal in his remarks during the second quarterly meeting with media organisations in Abuja, yesterday.

He argued that with the launch of online Voter Registration portal and deployment of over 2,000 mobile physical registration equipment, the target of the commission to enrol about 100 million voters ahead of the 2023 general election  is a mission possible.

“The expansion of voters’ access to polling units prepares the ground for the discharge of another important responsibility of the Commission. The registration of eligible Nigerians as voters is one of the immediate tasks before the Commission.

“Consequently, in the next one week i.e. Monday June 28, 2021, the Commission will resume the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) nationwide. In doing so, 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. This is 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.

“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. The CVR will be a major issue for discussion at this meeting.

“The Commission will demonstrate the procedure for the proposed online registration and also present the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED) to you shortly.

“The Commission will also brief you about the preparations for the forthcoming Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 6 and the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) holding on February 12, 2022.

“As you are already aware, the Commission has released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the two major off-season governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States holding on June 18, 2022 and  July 16 2022 respectively.

“We have since uploaded the details on our website and social media platforms. However, hard copies of the same documents are contained in your folders for this meeting.

“We intend to undertake the CVR exercise over a period of at least one year. The success of the exercise depends to a considerable extent on citizens’ awareness through voter education.

“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 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,” he requested.

President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, had appealed to the Commission to use the various off season elections to cement the electoral progresses it has recorded.

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