In order to prevent bogus voters from being registered ahead of the general elections in 2023, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it has identified 23 Registration Officers and has started disciplinary measures against them.
The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) recently alerted the public about plans by some party members to falsify identities on voter registration lists.
Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the commission, responded formally to the charge and acknowledged that the 23 Registration Officers involved in bogus registrations made up to 40 or more efforts to register one fake voter.
Additionally, he stated that there will likely be 93.5 million voters in the elections held the following year, adding that the precise number of voters will be known after the voters’ registers are displayed for claims and objections.
He provided updates on the ongoing voter registration drive, saying that 12,298,944 Nigerians had successfully registered as new voters at the conclusion of the drive. We have consistently informed Nigerians that the process we are using to clean up the register is reliable. A total of 2,780,756 (22.6%) were identified as ineligible registrants and removed from the record following a thorough data cleaning process using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), including double/multiple registrants, minors, and outright fake registrations that don’t comply with our business rules. As a result, there are 9,518,188 active registrations (post-ABIS).
“For the CVR exercise, the commission deployed thousands of diligent employees, and the vast majority of them carried out their responsibilities with diligence. Unluckily, some of them didn’t. Some of our Registration Officers who participated in the field exercise made fictitious registrations, which were simple to track down. Each registration machine is controlled by an access code linked to a staff-only dedicated email.
The total number of people registered by each official involved in the registration process is consequently recorded in an audit trail. For one fictitious voter registration, some of them attempted as many as 40 or more tries. Consequently, disciplinary action has already started when the commission identified 23 Registration Officers who were implicated in this unethical behavior. We will keep up our defense of the accuracy of our voter list. It is essential for trustworthy elections. It is also a national asset and, without a doubt, one of the largest citizen databases in the world.
“The 84,004,084 voters already on the rolls have had their names added to the 9,518,188 new voters. There are currently 93,522,272 registered voters in Nigeria. It is preliminary because Section 19(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act of 2022 mandates that the Commission display hard copies of the voter registers for each Registration Area (Ward) and Local Government Area for a period of two weeks for public inspection, claims, and objections by citizens no later than 90 days before a general election (and simultaneously publish the entire register on the commission’s website).
As a result, the commission will print 9,352,228 pages of the register over the following three days. Each of the 8,809 Registration Areas (Wards) and 774 Local Government Areas around the country will have a hard copy on display, and as required by law, the whole register will be made available on our website for claims and objections. The actual register will be displayed at the authorized locations from Saturday, November 12 through Friday, November 25, 2022.
“The Commission will provide more information, including the process for submitting claims and objections, the following week. In order to construct and publish the final voter registration for the 2023 General Election, he pleaded with all Nigerians to take advantage of the display to examine the list and assist in further cleaning it up.
“We are also making solid progress in other crucial areas of election preparation, including the provision of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, the recruitment of staff, and the planning for the transportation of personnel and materials for the election,” he added.
“Let me tell Nigerians once more that the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for voter accreditation would not be abandoned. On election day, real-time results transmission to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) cannot be undone.
There won’t be any incident forms that would allow ineligible voters to cast ballots during elections using other people’s Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs). We are dedicated to making sure that the general election in 2023 is credible and transparent and reflects the wishes of the Nigerian people,” he stated.
The leader of the commission issued further threats to prosecute anyone responsible for campaign violence, stating that the panel would keep tabs on the campaigns and would not be hesitant to begin legal action against those who violated the law.
The campaigns have only barely started. You should continue to be dedicated to conducting peaceful elections as party leaders. We will keep collaborating to remove obstacles that prevent parties and candidates from freely requesting voter support. The commission will keep tabs on the campaigns and won’t think twice about starting legal action against anyone who break the law.
“It is obvious to the commission that there will be a need to meet with political party leaders more regularly as the general election draws near. We intend to invite you to a conversation on political rallies and campaign money, particularly the expense caps set by the Com, very soon.
Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) dismissed the intentions to remove the electoral umpire and pledged to use all available resources to oppose them.
The promise’s maker, Yabagi Yusuf Sani, national chairman of IPAC, said: “The flimsy claims they’re orchestrating are part of the methods to set the stage for their planned onslaught to achieve their evil goal within legal frameworks. By undermining the commission’s stance on the adamant, airtight security measures against the ills of rigging and other electoral malpractices that had repeatedly marred the integrity of elections in the country in the past, it also aims to coerce and intimidate Yakubu into surrendering.
“However, we think that they won’t get their way despite their pranks, machinations, and desperate measures. In Nigeria, the use of technology to conduct elections has been established as sacred and inevitable. Every stakeholder in the nation’s power struggle must accept the new fact that they can no longer shamelessly and impunity rig elections.
“Mr. Chairman, under the current situation, you may rely on IPAC’s customary support as well as the goodwill and support of the majority of the nation’s population. The eyes of the entire nation and, in fact, the larger world community are keenly focused on you, so we urge you to remain firm and strong in the knowledge that you have your well-earned reputation to protect.