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INEC’s CVR score card and 2019 elections

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RECENTLY, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) concluded the 2018 Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in all the states of the federation.

The exercise, which was supposed to end on August 17, according to INEC, was extended to August 31, because of requests by Nigerians for extension of time to allow more citizens register for the 2019 general elections.

ACCORDING to INEC, the exercise was aimed at ensuring that eligible voters who did not attain the age of 18 when the first registration was conducted would be captured this time around.

The electoral umpire also disclosed that those who either relocated from the places they resided earlier and those who lost their permanent voter cards (PVCs) also benefitted from the exercise.

THERE is no doubt that the exercise yielded some results that would impact positively on the 2019 elections. In his recent post-event chat with journalists, Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Emeka Ononamadu, enumerated the numerous gains made by the commission during the exercise.

MR. ONONAMADU described the program as a huge success in Enugu and the entire South East, noting that it was a remarkable improvement in the history of voter registration in Nigeria, particularly since the return to democratic rule in 1999.

HE revealed that as at August 31, the total number of fresh registrations across Nigeria stood at 14,551, 482 while the total PVC collection stood at 869,406. Request for transfers stood at 769,917 while a total request for replacement of lost or defaced PVCs stood at 1,178,793.

THE Commission, he said, got a total of 5,427 registrants who got transferred to Enugu State while 11,665 applied for replacement of their defaced or lost PVCs. He expressed joy that Enugu State will go into the 2019 general elections with 1,961,586 voters assuming every registrant collects his or her PVC before the general election.

THE success of the exercise was not restricted to Enugu State alone; other states of the federation registered various degrees of successes.

ACCORDING to the zonal analysis released by the INEC, South South zone polled the highest number of new registrants of 2,803,230, South West came second with 2,484,840 number of new voters.

The South East came third with a total of 2,391,481 new registrants. North Central got the fourth position with 2, 413, 798 new voters, North East got a total of 2, 375, 759 voters to secure the fifth position. North West, he said, brought up the rear with 2,082,374 number of newly registered voters.

THE irony of the analysis is that the South East broke the jinx of always coming behind the North East and North West. The only zone that came above the South East is the North Central.

The implication is that the South East would this time, have a strong voice on who rules the country come 2019. It also shows that political awareness in the zone has risen tremendously.

“LET me say this to those who believe that the CVR did not work well in the South East that CVR performance in the South East was unprecedented.

The zone registered more than the North West and North East. Only the North Central registered more than the South East by only 5,722 which may change in favour of the zone after the Automatic Finger Identification Scheme (AFIS) check which should weed out double registrants,” Ononamadu stated.

THE breakdown by the electoral body has some heartwarming news especially in the area of participation for the people of the South East, but experience has shown that it is one thing to register and another to collect the PVC. Most important is voting during the elections.

IT IS our opinion that both INEC and the citizenry have a lot of work to do here. INEC should device means to ensure that the cards get to their owners. They could make effective use of traditional institutions like the traditional rulers and community development unions to get the yet-to-be collected cards to the card owners. Campaigns and awareness programme through the mass media will help in this direction.

THE citizenry, on their own, must shun every form of apathy and go to the designated centres to collect their PVCs. They should not wait for INEC to deliver them to their door steps before they could collect them. By so doing, they will make INEC’s task of conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2019 easier.

WE IN the National Light believe in the old age maxim that the prize good people pay for refusing to participate in electoral processes is to be ruled by bad people.

National Light also believes firmly that for the desired results to be achieved at the various tiers of government, both the leader and the led must come out and work seriously for the success the of electoral process.

Collection of the PVCs and participation in the election proper are very important factors in every acceptable electoral process.

AT THIS juncture, we urge INEC to ensure that voting is done strictly on the number of eligible registrants according to the figures they released.

It is not new in Nigerian elections to discover fictitious figures that are contrary to the ones released earlier by the electoral body during the elections.

WHILE commending the Prof. Abubakar Mahmood led INEC for the introduction of the Automatic Finger Identification Scheme (AFIS), we will not fail to warn that the system could be manipulated by desperate politicians if given the chance.

The prayers of Nigerians and lovers of democracy all over the world is that Nigeria should get it right in 2019.

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