Familiar electoral glitches dent continuous voter registration exercise

A 74-year-old retired police officer, Mr Iheanacho Ariwodo (First right), being registered during the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration at the INEC office in Umuahia on Thursday (4/5/17). 02440/4/5/2017/Sam Oditah/BJO/NAN

The Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, exercise entered its third day on Thursday with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and observers acknowledging that the exercise was being affected by Nigeria’s familiar electoral challenges.

According to INEC on Thursday at its usual weekly meeting to review the process, 57,737 people have so far registered nationwide, while 4,913 others have collected their permanent voter cards, PVCs.

It also said 1,820 persons have applied to switch polling units (PUs) while 1,117 persons applied for replacement of lost or damaged PVCs.

INEC and civil society groups monitoring the exercise said the challenges being encountered include malfunctioning of the Direct Data Capture machines, inadequate manpower and inaccessibility of registration centres.

They also said some potential registrants, particularly those in rural communities, have complained about long distance of registration centres to them.

INEC, however, pledged to address the challenges as the exercise progresses.

The registration exercise is for Nigerians above 18 years who were not previously registered and those who previously registered but whose names are missing in the register of voters.

It is also open to those who have lost or damaged their cards and would like to replace them.

The commission appealed to eligible Nigerians who are yet to register and those who registered but have not collected their PVCs to take advantage of the exercise to do so.

In a preliminary report, a civil society group, Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in Abuja on Thursday said the exercise has been orderly and relatively peaceful without reported cases of violence, harassment and intimidation of registrants.

CDD said it deployed members to observe the exercise in 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

The states are Lagos, Ekiti, Rivers, Bayelsa, Anambra, Ebonyi, Benue, Kano, Kebbi, Bauchi, Gombe states, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

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