We didn’t make voter registration difficult, says INEC

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday refuted claims that it did make registration for the Permanent Voter’s Card difficult for eligible voters.

INEC started voter’s card registration on April 27 2017, slated to close April 17 2018, but extended registration for an extra two weeks including weekends and holidays in all local governments in the country.

After the two weeks extension for registration, a lot of persons were not able to register. Some alleged INEC made the registrations difficult.

But, INEC’s national commissioner for voter education and publicity Solomon Soyebi said the allegations are far from the truth, saying it did make it comfortable and convenient for Nigerians.
Soyebi who spoke on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily said the public groanings were not an evidence that INEC made registrations difficult.

Many who lamented their frustrating experiences trying to register claimed the registration points were too few in each local government, which forced some people to travel long distance to get registered.

However, Soyebi said the claims were untrue, as the same accredited polling units per local government since 1996 were functional voter registration points.

“We did not change the locations, they remained at the wards. The local governments. Those are just excuses. We have not changed our local governments. We have not changed our wards since 1996, so this cannot new complain. So, we didn’t create new centres. They are existing centres,” Soyebi said.

“Many people left it late to decide to register. And even if we leave it to the eve of the election, there will still be a rush. After 2019 elections we will look at when to continue it, but we need to do more things in preparation for the elections. We can’t be running elections and CVR at the same time,”

“We yielded to public outcry. We expanded operations to a weekend and two weeks more when we captured more than 1million people,”

He disclosed that the commission is considering a review of existing polling owing to development, change in landscapes and increase in the country’s population.

“There are so many shifts. So many settlements. In fact the population itself had shifted from what it used to be, so it needs a whole lot of expansion.

“There are laws guiding these things, we can’t just say because we have a lot of people here, we will just unilaterally create a place, no. The law has to be changed before anything can be changed,” Soyebi said.

Soyebi added that INEC registered over 14 million voters in addition to over 70 million existing voters during the voter registration that commenced since last year.

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