April 1, 2021
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BY Tunde Oguntola, Abuja 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said it will commence the continuous voter registration (CVR) on Monday, June 28, 2021 nationwide.

The electoral umpire also said that the exercise will continue till the third quarter of 2022.

INEC, however, added that it has decided to introduce a new voter registration equipment and technology.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, noted that the present generation of voter registration equipment, which the commission introduced in 2011, is the Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM).

Yakubu said while the DDCM has served the commission well over the last 10 years, the commission believes that there are now more compact registration devices that will better serve Nigerians during the CVR exercise.

He, therefore, said that the commission will be migrating to a new INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), which is based on an Android tablet.

Prior to now, he said the commission had 1,446 registration centres and it has added 1,000 more centres.

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Yakubu noted that the registration will first be done online, adding that all intending registrants, especially those that have turned 18 years of age recently, should turn out and register from Monday, June 28, 2021.

He also warned all prospective registrants that it is an offence to register more than once.

According to him, “I will like to appeal to all prospective registrants that it is an offence to register more than once. Citizens should only register once.”

Commenting on the alleged criminal case of double registration against the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, he said, “In the case of the specific name, you mentioned, you know, the specific reason while the commission could not have proceeded and you know, when this question will become relevant maybe after the protection that that person receives has been removed constitutionally.”

Other categories of Nigerians he encouraged to seize the opportunity of the CVR in order to fulfil the important civic responsibility of voting include “any registered voter who has had any issue during accreditation at previous elections so that the Commission can rectify the problem; All registered voters who wish to transfer their voting locations from the present one to another.”

“All registered voters who have lost their PVCs or whose PVCs have been defaced or damaged; and all registered voters who wish to correct their information such as misspellings of names, dates of birth, etc,” he added.

Explaining the reason for the delay of the CVR exercise, he said there were three cardinal reasons why the exercise could not start earlier, which included the establishment of new systems that would ensure safer CVR  in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this regard, he said the commission was building a new online registration portal that would enable new registrants to commence registration online and subsequently complete the capture of their biometric data at designated registration centres.

Yakubu said this was designed to reduce crowding in this period of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Through the online portal, they can schedule their visits to the registration centres to suit their convenience. Above all, a CVR Locator is integrated into the new portal which will enable online registrants to locate the nearest registration centre available to them to complete their registration.

“Previously, registered voters who wished to transfer their voting locations, apply for replacement of their PVCs or correct their personal information had to appear physically at the registration centres. The development of this portal, which is being done in-house by our engineers, has taken a little more time to complete than the Commission anticipated,” Yakubu said.

He also noted that the second reason for the delay was the commission’s determination to expand voter access to polling units.

The activities leading to the recommencement of the exercise, according to the INEC are: “Expansion of voter access to Polling Units – 11th May 2021.

“Building and testing the online registration Portal – 15th May 2021.

“Arrival of the new generation of registration devices – the IVED – 31st May 2021.

“Recruitment and training of Voter Enrolment Staff – 14th June 2021.

“Restart of CVR – 28th June 2021.

“Effective from Monday 28th June 2021, the CVR exercise will commence nationwide and carried out continuously for over a year until the third quarter of 2022.”

LEADERSHIP recall that the voter registration takes place around elections, principally due to the exigencies of resources.

During the briefing, the INEC chairman also received his first COVID-19 vaccine jab alongside some national commissioners.

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