Inec to deploy more staff and voter registration machines after it agrees to extend voter registration

NIGERIA'S Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) is planning to deploy additional machines and ad hoc staff for next year's general elections after being told by the National Assembly to extend the voter registration by 60 days.


In February next year, Nigeria goes to the polls but with voter registration not as fast as expected, the House of Representatives has asked Inec to extend its deadline. Hon Aisha Duku, the chairman of the House Committee on Inec, said that her committee recently met with the commission where they asked that the deadline be extended from the original deadline of June 30.


One June 15, the House of Representatives had directed that the committee should meet with Inec to urge it to extend its continuous voter registration (CVR) and according to Hon Duku, the electoral umpire agreed to all its requests. She added that Inec told the committee that the registration days would now include weekends with additional hands to ensure a smooth exercise.


In April, Inec declared that about 42% of the voter registrations recorded since the commencement of CVR on 28 June, 2021, were invalid with about 20m unclaimed permanent voters cards (PVCs). Apparently, the large number of unregistered eligible voters, willing to be registered as evidenced by crowd seen at various registration centres, had resulted in congestion.


According to lawmakers,  if nothing was done to improve the shortage of voter registration equipment and extend the deadline for voter registration, millions of Nigerians would be disenfranchised, which would jeopardise the integrity of the 2023 general elections. As part of its resolution, the House, therefore mandated its Committee on Electoral Matters to engage Inec, to examine and proffer solutions to the shortage of registration machines and manpower.


In addition, the House also urged Inec to deploy an additional 30 voters registration machines in each local government area and train and deploy ad-hoc staff to improve the shortage of manpower at registration centres. Furthermore, the House resolved that security should also be provided for the staff.