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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu to as a matter of urgency reopen voters’ registration to allow no fewer than seven million Nigerians that had already started their registration online to complete the process.
In a letter dated August 13, 2022, and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP issued the demand and threatened to take the commission to court if the demand is not complied with within seven days.
The civil society organisation stressed that INEC must ensure the prospective voters who have carried out their voter registration online are given time and opportunity to complete the process so that they can obtain their permanent voter cards (PVCs), and exercise their right to vote.
Africa Daily News, New York recalls that INEC had recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at a physical centre. This represents just 32.8 percent of completed online registration.
SERAP also maintained that the right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised.
It further stated that the act of closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, INEC has pledged to do everything within its powers to resist rigging and vote-buying in the 2023 general election which is expected to hold from February 23.
The commission revealed that it has resolved to ensure that polling booths are distanced from the public who are around the voting area.
The reappointed Resident Electoral Commission (REC), Obo Effanga, made this known at the 2022 annual general meeting, fundraising, dinner, and flag off of the proposed lavatory/tree planning projects in Imo and Abia states universities in Abuja.