Nzuko Umunna asks INEC to extend voter registration to Sept 30

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decision to end voter registration on July 30 is tantamount to dis-enfranchising millions of Nigerian voters outside and is also against the rule of law as no existing electoral law gave such authority to the electoral umpire.

That was the view of Nzuko Umunna, a think tank group of Igbo professionals. The group noted that, clearly, the short period of additional few days given by INEC is not necessary going by Section 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022 which provides that: “The registration of voters, updating and revision of the Register of Voters under this section shall stop not later than 90 days before any election covered by this Act.”

The group in statement signed by its President, Prof Chika  Moore, and Chairman adhoc committee on Voter Registration/Electoral Participation, Hon. Emmanuel Mok after its press conference in Enugu over the weekend, urged INEC to extend the closing date for voter registration to September 30, 2022 as it is still within the ambit of the law.

They posited  that the ”fundamental action that INEC needs to take include to
communicate clearly the extension period for registration, release all or most of the electoral biometrics registration capture machines to all the Local Government Areas in Nigeria paying special attention to major cities and towns of Nigeria and the whole of South East region.

They stated that the ”209 units of machines INEC released across the country are a drop in the ocean of needs. If these machines are deployed to only Lagos State for example, the 20 LGAs in the states will receive just 10 units per LGA. It is pertinent to note that each of these LGAs have populations in excess of one million people.”

Thus, Nzuko Umunna called on the powers that be at INEC to employ seven clear cut strategies to achieve success. These include advocacy to INEC to improve their processes in terms of urgent deployment of adequate human and material resources for continuous voter registration and especially for the collection of PVCs; support campaign for non-discriminatory processes in terms of providing services to voters across the federation; and continued voter sensitization and encouragement towards registration and collection of PVCs.

Others include support the use of traditional and religious institutions and civil society and youth organizations platforms in distribution of PVCs to registered voters; any other help the Embassy of America can render towards smooth voter registration and collection of PVCs; and persuade INEC to use the individual’s biometrics to identity registered voters whose cards are not ready and for those whose cards had any issue so they can vote.

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