With 11 days to the end of the continuous voter registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the commission has said it is yet to decide on the growing request for extension.
There has been a clamour for an extension of the exercise, which began in June 2021 and is scheduled to end on June 30, 2022. Ahead of the 2023 elections, the exercise has witnessed a surge in the number of registrants in recent weeks, prompting the calls for an extension. The online registration ended on May 30, 2022.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday asked the commission to extend the CVR by 60 days, while several civil society organisations and individuals also called for an extension to the exercise to enable more Nigerians to register.
Earlier, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 185 concerned Nigerians filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos asking the court for, among other things, an order of mandamus to direct and compel INEC to extend voter registration by a minimum of three months and take effective measures to ensure that eligible Nigerians are able to register to exercise their right to vote in the 2023 general elections.
INEC, in a notice on its website, said the deadline for the registration was to enable the commission to clean up the registration data, print the permanent voter cards and compile the register ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking on the request, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the commission was yet to decide on the issue. He told our correspondent in an interview on Friday, “INEC does not have any position yet. As of today, the deadline for the CVR remains June 30, which is less than 13 days away. The commission will decide what to do next when we get to the bridge.”
The INEC chairman said in June that as of June 1, about 10.2 million fresh registration had been recorded since the exercise started. In many parts of the country and in social media, there has been a renewed drive and persuasion by individuals for people, especially the youths, to register and collect their PVCs.
There are indications that at the end of the exercise, the number of registered voters nationwide might increase from the 84 million in 2019 to over 100 million by 2023.
The Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, said recently during INEC’s first Twitter Spaces, that the efforts by youths to register was fascinating but that they should go beyond registering to ensure they collect their PVCs and vote.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission in Osun State says it has extended the collection of Permanent Voter Cards in the state ahead of the governorship election on July 16.
In a statement by the commission’s Public Affairs Officer, Mrs Oluwaseun Osimosu on Saturday, INEC said the decision was aimed at easing the collection of PVCs by those that had yet to collect the items.
“INEC wishes to inform the public, most especially all eligible voters who have yet to collect their Permanent Voter Cards that they can collect their PVCs at the registration areas (wards) from June 22 to June 26.