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POLITICS NEWS: Peter Obi support group seeks improved voter registration infrastructure

POLITICS NEWS: Peter Obi support group seeks improved voter registration infrastructure

Publish date: 2022-06-20 12:32:55 | Author: Ikenna Obianeri | Source: punchng.com

The Coalition for Peter Obi has written the Independent National Electoral Commission, demanding an expansion of its voter registration and validation infrastructure to serve the teeming numbers of Nigerians willing to register.

The group, made up of independent professionals and intellectuals, in a letter dated June 16, which was signed by its Chairman, Marcel Ngogbehei, observed that no matter the number of years of extension of the voters’ registration and validation, if the infrastructure is not expanded, it will amount to a total waste of the nation’s time and resources.

In the letter circulated to journalists on Monday, Ngogbehei said it makes more sense to employ 50,000 workers for three months with massive numbers of voter registration machines than to employ 5,000 workers for one year with a few machines.

The letter partly read, “The Coalition for Peter Obi, a self-funded group of independent professionals and intellectuals hereby call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to immediately expand its infrastructure for conducting voter registration and verification exercise across the country and particularly redeploy same to areas of high demand.

“From statistical analysis, the Nigerian population is estimated at 216 million as of June 2022 according to data from the Worldbank, with a median age of 18.1 years. That means half of the population of Nigeria or 108 million are above 18 years and eligible to vote. INEC’s current voters’ register estimates Nigeria’s voting population at 84 million, so INEC is expected to capture at least 20 million additional Nigerian voters in this exercise, but the electoral body has completed barely four million applications as of March 2022 from information available on its website.

“This means that a whopping 16 million Nigerians are likely to be disenfranchised. This is not good for our democracy.

“This call has become necessary to ensure that 16 million Nigerian citizens are not disenfranchised in the forthcoming general elections.

“As part of our voter education exercise around the country in June 2022, our field volunteers have observed a clear lack of capacity on the part of INEC to service the voting population, especially in high-demand areas owing to inadequate infrastructure including limited numbers of registration machines resulting to a slow pace of registration in many centres. We expected that the past 3 weeks of the continuous surge would have been enough for INEC to immediately restrategise, expand and redeploy resources to the areas of high demand.

“As a Coalition of several groups made up of diverse Nigerians from all works of life and from every part of the country including the diaspora, we are committed to support INEC to ensure that it carries out its statutory function as an electoral management body to conduct free, fair and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.

“In view of the present troubling circumstances, we recommend that INEC urgently embark on the expansion of its voter registration and validation infrastructure to serve the teeming numbers of Nigerians who wish to exercise their patriotic and civic duties of voting in the forthcoming general elections.

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