INEC says the deployment of the machines is aimed at alleviating the challenges faced by Nigerians in the continuous voter registration exercise.
By Emma Ogbuehi
In a bid to address complaints of inadequate facilities and centers stemming from the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released 209 additional machines in the five southern states -east, Kano and Lagos.
INEC Chairman, Voter Information and Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who made the revelation in a statement, said the measure had become necessary, given the unprecedented increase in the number of citizens wishing to register to vote and the challenges they face across the country.
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Complaints about insufficient centers and facilities delayed the exercise, particularly in the southeast and parts of Lagos and Kano.
The Labor Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, had, due to the frustration faced by Nigerians keen to register, especially in the South East, called on INEC to ensure that eligible Nigerians are not denied registration and voting rights in 2023. .
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Okoye admitted the increase in the number of citizens who wish to register on the electoral lists, hence the action of the INEC. Although he did not explain how the machines would be deployed, Okoye assured that all measures would be taken and all options would be explored to ensure that eligible Nigerians have the opportunity to register to vote.
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He attributed the sudden increase in Nigerians seeking registration as an affirmation of Nigerians’ growing confidence in the electoral process.
The statement said:
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received reports from our states indicating an unprecedented increase in the number of citizens wishing to register to vote and the challenges they face across the country. In some states, the sudden turnout of potential enrollees is overwhelming.
“As a result, the Commission has convened an urgent meeting with all Resident Election Commissioners (RECs) yesterday Thursday, June 9, 2022 to review the situation so that eligible Nigerians who wish to register can do so. The need to urgently deploy more voter registration machines to reduce congestion at registration centers was identified as a priority.
“In response, the Commission immediately released 209 additional machines deployed mainly in the five southeastern states, Lagos and Kano, where the pressure is most acute.
“The Commission will monitor the situation over the next few days. Thereafter, it will meet to take stock of the progress of the exercise.
“Every step will be taken and all options will be explored to ensure that eligible Nigerians have the opportunity to register to vote.
“The Commission calls on all citizens for patience and understanding. Every Nigerian aged 18 and above has the constitutional right to register and vote in any part of the country where he resides without permission or hindrance.
“This sudden increase is an affirmation of the growing confidence of Nigerians in our electoral process. The Commission will continue to ensure that this confidence is maintained.