Shortage of INEC officials, computer systems mar voters registration ―Report

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A new report released by NOIPolls on the assessment of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that the exercise is being made difficult by the inadequacy of INEC officials and computer systems.

The report released on Wednesday, however, noted that Nigerians have scored the exercise 57 percent, indicating an average assessment.

The poll which consisted of a mix of telephone and on-the-ground face-to-face interviews at registration centres further revealed that about 8 in 10 (81 percent) fresh registrants say they have experienced some challenges at registration centres such as: Long Queues (35 percent), Distance to Registration Centres (25 percent), Inadequate Computer Systems (19 percent), Late arrival of INEC Officials (16 percent); Poor Communication Skills of INEC Officials (11 percent), and Inadequate Personnel (7 percent) to mention a few.

It further revealed that the on-the-ground face-to-face assessment of the exercise gave enumerators the opportunity to observe and hear directly from prospective registrants, who complained of having to wake up as early as 3:00 am to visit registration centres and still experience difficulty registering due to long queues and the sheer number of people coming out to register.

“In some specific instances, out of over 200 names on an attendance list at a centre, only about 30 prospective registrants get registered daily due to the inadequacy of INEC officials and computer systems.

“The poll found that most registration centres had only a single laptop computer, which had the capacity to register about 30 to 40 people daily without technical disruptions,” the report noted.

Sequel to the forthcoming general elections in 2019, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the 27th of April 2017 announced the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. This is in pursuance of the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) which mandates the Commission to carry out CVR nationwide.

Recently, there has been various campaigns by Nigerians regarding voters’ registration and a vast number of people are seen at the designated centres for the CVR exercise to either register or apply for the transfer of their permanent voter’s card/polling unit. The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the commission had 74 million voters in its register by the second week of January 2019.

This figure indicates that more persons need to be registered before the general elections. Consequently, INEC approved and announced the creation of 10 additional CVR centres in each state of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

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Despite the newly created centres, there are still complaints about the inability of the centres to handle the number of unregistered voters who spend a whole day waiting to be registered. In light of these, NOIPolls conducted a poll to gauge the perceptions and level of participation of Nigerians regarding the CVR exercise in preparation for the 2019 general elections.

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