By Emmanuel Oloniruha
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says a total of 542, 576 Nigerians had completed their online pre-registration in the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as at 7am of Monday July 12, exactly two weeks since the exercise began.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Tuesday at a meeting he held with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), in Abuja.
Yakubu said that INEC was pleased with the progress made so far on the online pre-registration of voters nationwide, which commenced on Monday, June 28.
“At the beginning, we gave Nigerians daily updates on the progress of the exercise. We also promised to make available more detailed weekly updates, which we started from Monday last week.
“As at 7am yesterday, Monday July 12, exactly two weeks since the exercise began, a total of 542,576 Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration.
“Out of this figure, 456,909 are fresh registrants while 85,667 have applied for voter transfer, replacement of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), update of voter information record.
“The Commission is also able to provide Nigerians with information on the distribution of registrants across the States of the Federation by age, occupation, gender and disability.
“Out of 542,576 online registrants so far, 356,777 (or 66 per cent) are young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years. This is followed by 134,719 middle aged registrants who fall between 35 and 49 years.
“The third category is elderly persons aged between 50 and 69 years of which 44,896 Nigerians have registered. Interestingly, some 6,184 senior citizens, aged 70 years and above, have taken advantage of the new online opportunity to also register.
“On occupational distribution of registrants, 156,446 are students; 38,217 artisans; 24,421 farmers and fishermen; 150,145 businessmen and traders; 35,831 employed as civil and public servants and 8,334 housewives. The remaining 129,182 registrants did not specify their occupations.
“On gender, 321,781 are male, while 220,795 are female. In our effort to serve all Nigerians better, the Commission has requested registrants to indicate their disability (if any).
“This will enable us to optimally and efficiently deploy assistive voting devices such as Braille ballot guide and magnifying glasses for persons with special needs at polling units on election day.
“So far, we have data for 6,558 registrants who have clearly indicated their type of disability”.
Yakubu said that details of the information, including State and occupational distribution, had been uploaded on the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
He also disclosed that the commission has approved 811 physical registration centres, starting from July 19, as the commission was aware that not all Nigerians had access to computers, smart phones or internet connectivity, to register online.
“Our aim is to activate some 2,673 centres to which we intend to deploy 5,346 officials for in-person registration.
“However, after consultation with stakeholders, the Commission is proceeding systematically as we review the security situation across the country.
“We agreed with stakeholders, including the security agencies, to start from our state and local government offices.
“This means an initial 811 locations nationwide made up of 37 State and FCT offices and 774 Local Government Areas.
“We have configured enough machines and commenced deployment nationwide for further training of officials in readiness for the commencement of the physical registration.”
He added that the list of the 811 centres, including their locations and dedicated telephone numbers for each State office nationwide, had been uploaded on INEC’s website and social media platforms for enquiries.
“The Commission is not unaware that we have scheduled the commencement of the physical registration for Monday July 19. Already, there are indications that this date or immediately thereafter may be public holidays.
“We are also aware that some of the online registrants have scheduled their appointments for the completion of their registrations on the dates that are likely to be public holidays.
“The Commission will meet on Thursday this week to review the situation and provide clarity on the matter.”
Yakubu also disclosed that the commission had approved the timetable and schedule of activities for the CVR exercise, which would continue for the next one year.
The timetable, according to him, include the display of the register of new voters for claims and objections by citizens at various stages of the process, as required by law.
He said that the time table will cover four quarters, stating that the first quarter would be registration of voters from June 28 to Sept. 1, while display of register would be from Sept. 4 to Sept. 30.
The second quarter, according to him, would be from Oct. 4 to Dec. 20 for registration of voters, while display of registered voters would be from Dec. 24 to Dec. 30.
He added that for the third quarter, registration of voters would start from Jan. 3, 2022 to March 22,2022; while display of register for claims and objections would hold from March 26, 2022 to April 1, 2022.
For the fourth quarter, Yakubu said that voter registration had been scheduled for April 11, 2022 to June 30, 2022, while display of register for claims and objections would hold from July 4, 2022 to July 11, 2022.
Yakubu appreciated the overwhelming support of Nigerians to the CVR exercise so far, while pledging that INEC would spare no effort in deepening the use of technology to ensure electoral transparency and credibility.
“The voters register is at the heart of any credible election. This makes this meeting with our RECs crucial.
“We are working hard to ensure that just as we had a smooth take-off of the online pre-registration, the commencement of the physical registration will similarly be hitch-free”, Yakubu said. (NAN)