By Donald Ezeora
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise would end in two weeks’ time, on July 31, 2021.
The electoral umpire, whic announced the decision at an extraordinary session on Friday, noted that
INEC national commissioner, information and voter education, Festus Okoye disclosed that the exercise had been extended to eight hours daily — from 9am to 5pm — instead of the current duration of six hours daily
He further revealed that the exercise will now include weekends as against only weekdays.
Adadareporters.com reports that INEC had earlier fixed June 30 as the deadline for the ongoing CVR ahead of the 2023 elections, but it was later to extend the exercise by two weeks following massive turnout of intending voters thronging its registration centres.
The House of Representatives had pleaded with INEC to extend the exercise by 60 days – until August 30 – to enable the people enrol in the voter register while a civil society organization, the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) took INEC to court to stop it from ending the exercise on June 30.
In subsequent media interviews, INEC chairman Prof Mahmoud Yakubu said the voter registration had been extended indefinitely. But yesterday the election umpire gave July 31 to conclude the exercise.
INEC spokesman Festus Okoye appealed for the patience and understanding of all Nigerians as the commission moves to conclude the exercise, saying further registration would resume again after the 2023 general election.
He said, “We observed that following the continuation of the exercise beyond 30th June 2022, many of the registration centres recorded low turnout of prospective registrants.
“With this two-week extension, we appeal to eligible citizens not to wait until the last few days before they inundate the centres again to register.
“We appreciate that the timeframe may be tight for many prospective registrants, but there is a lot that the Commission is required to do under the electoral legal framework in relation to voter registration and compilation of the register that will require time to accomplish.
“We appreciate the interest of Nigerians to register and participate in the electoral process and once again reiterate our commitment to credible and transparent elections. This can only be achieved with the support and cooperation of all Nigerians.”
The commission asked Nigerians to take advantage of the new two-week extension to register for their permanent voter cards (PVCs).