Seun Ibukun-Oni, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it will deal with any culpable officials found to have compromised the voters register after the display of the document on November 25.
The nation’s electoral body said it has been receiving the online concerns and objections and it will do the same for the manual process, stating that in this way, citizens were contributing to the strengthening of the country’s electoral process.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja on Thursday on the ongoing display of voter register, which commenced last Saturday.
Okoye said claims and objections raised by Nigerians, which will be addressed and maintained that the media reports on the presence of ineligible registrants in the register should be viewed as the Commission’s resolve to be transparent.
“The full display of all registrants speaks to the Commission’s commitment to transparency. The fact that these likely ineligible registrants are being identified means that the objectives of the display for claims and objections are being met. We implore the public to follow the procedures and report these objections for the necessary action of the Commission.
“In addition, the commission cannot rule out infractions by its registration officials in allowing these ineligible persons into the register in the first place. Therefore, each confirmed case of infraction will be thoroughly investigated and culpable officials will be disciplined.
“We wish to reassure Nigerians that the Commission is committed to transparency and accountability in all its activities. We hope that at the end of the exercise, the Commission, with the involvement of citizens, would have improved the quality of the Register of Voters, which is the bedrock of a successful election.
“Nigerians should note that perfecting the register is a continuous and painstaking process over time. Indeed, the presently displayed register contains all the voters dating back to the registration of 2011, not just the recent exercise.
“That some of these likely ineligible entries are being found presently confirms the Commission’s position that the best way to make the voters’ register more robust is for Nigerians to continue to scrutinise it and, more importantly, make their claims and objections for its improvement,” he said.
Okoye restated that the purpose of the display was to enable Nigerians to scrutinise the preliminary register and make claims about misspellings of names, personal details or missing names on the register so that the errors can be corrected.
He said citizens can also raise objections about the presence of ineligible persons, such as those below the age of 18 years, dead persons, foreigners, or those making false claims so that they can be deleted from the register in line with the Commission’s established rules.
“As earlier announced, the Commission will display the physical copies of the register for claims and objections at two levels.
“First, at the Registration Area level from 12th to 18th November 2022, which comes to an end tomorrow, and thereafter, at the Local Government level from 19th to 25th November 2022.
“The display will be followed by hearing of claims and objections by citizens for disposal action. In addition to the physical display at the Registration Areas and Local Governments, the register is also displayed on the Commission’s website so that citizens can simultaneously make both claims and objections online throughout the duration of the exercise.
“This is the first time that the commission would be doing so and further underscores our commitment to applying technology to improve the electoral process,” he added.