Mixed reactions are currently trailing the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise organised by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. While some Nigerians are enthusiastic about getting registered so that they could participate in the forthcoming general elections in 2023, there seems to be apathy over the exercise among some citizens. The CVR exercise is however seen as critical to the future of the country by watchers of events and analysts, who maintain that Nigerians must take their collective destiny in their hand by getting involved in electoral processes.
Enugu struggles as INEC, CSO worry over low turnout
Enugu State, for instance, is currently recording low figures when compared to many other states across the country in the ongoing continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise. So far, just about 10, 373 persons have registered online and out of that figure, only 5,515 persons have completed both online and physical registration formalities. The Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Emeka Ononamadu, who made this known when contacted by Saturday Telegraph, however expressed optimism that the registration, which started on a sluggish note, was gradually picking up momentum. He said, “The point is that yes people have started coming out but the commencement was a little low. “The outcome so far in Enugu State is not impressive especially if you compare it to other states of the federation. “But I think its gaining momentum, normally in Enugu it starts gradually but when it picks up you usually see very stronger momentum.” Meanwhile, the Enugu State government has announced that it has embarked on mobilisation of youths to register at the on-going exercise. Mr Johnpaul Anih, Special Assistant to Enugu State Government on Youth Affairs, recently told journalists in Enugu that those who just attained 18 years of age are the main target. He said that the government had invested in media sensitisation of the people about the exercise and had held meetings with youth groups in the local council areas. In a related development, the Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Advocacy (LEAD) Network, an NGO, has decried the low participation of eligible voters in the ongoing CVR in the five South East states of Enugu, Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi and Abia. The Executive Director of LEAD Network, Mr Chukwuma Okenwa, gave the hint to newsmen in Enugu on the sideline of reports of registration in CVR centres within the zone monitored by members of his NGO. “As it stands, the South East remains the zone with the least number of registered voters. “This is not encouraging as we are agitating for a President of South East extraction come 2023 general election,” he said.
Voters registration: Delta targets over 3m in 5,863 polling units
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Delta State, Mr Monday Udoh-Tom, said that the state was not lagging behind in the ongoing voter registration exercise. According to him, “no fewer than 100,000 persons of voting age have registered in the last three weeks of the exercise in the state.” He said, “We have come here to tell you to continue to send message out to Deltans who are 18 years and above to go and register. “Those who have problems with their cards as well as those who want to transfer their voting points can avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the CVR,” he said. He added; “So far we are happy that Deltans have taken the opportunity seriously. “In order to decongest the voting environment, INEC creat-ed additional 2,239 polling units in the state, bringing the total to 5,863 polling units and we want people to register in those new polling units,” he said. However, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu lamented that the state, which has a population of over five million, was yet to record three million voters. He said, “It is our duty as a government to mobilise our people for registration for future elections in the state. We are well over five million in population. “Eligible voters in the state should at least be over three million. But adverse had always been the case. We understand that INEC alone may not have what it takes to achieve this,” he said.
INEC: We’ve registered nearly 2.5 million voters in Ogun
No fewer than 2,449,000 residents of Ogun state have registered in the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise. The Ogun Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, Prof. Abdulganiyu Raji, disclosed this to Saturday Telegraph. According to him, INEC registered 259,713 residents of the state in the first week of registration. Raji stated that the statistics with the commission showed that 85 per cent of new registrants of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) are youths. He declared that since youths constitute 95 per cent of the population in the country, and 70 per cent of those that registered in the first week are youths, then the country is moving towards a positive direction. He said: “In line with the demography that I read to you earlier, out of this 259,713, 175,859 were youths constituting over 70 per cent of those who registered. “With this, I think we are moving in a positive direction because if you constitute 95 per cent of the population, and about 70 per cent who have registered within the first week are youths and that trend has actually continued until now, then it is okay. “Nigeria is moving in a positive direction, you can go to our website, any of the two, you will see the information there.”
Bayelsa records high registration of voters
In Bayelsa State, the level of voter registration is high according to Winifred Ifogah, Head of Department Voter Education and Publicity. He said “As far as Nigeria is concerned, Bayelsa happens to be one of the states where people are responding very well to the CVR “Those that have done the pre-online registration as at Monday this week are almost 200,000. “There are two stages in the registration but we have already adopted the online pattern which means that if you want to register, you can go online through the link and indicate your interest, fill out the process. You will then be sent a link through your email. From that link, you will carry out every other request that you want. “It is not for only those that are registering, it is meant for those who want to do transfer, those who want to do the replacement of their cards, and those whose cards are defaced and those who want to update their record as well as for married women,” he said.
‘Voters registration in Adamawa State is successful’
In Adamawa State, voters registration is going on smoothly and successfully with peaceful and massive turnout in all local government areas visited. In Yola North Local Government area of the State, Mallam Nuhu Abubakar, INEC Registration Officer who spoke on the exercise said that apart from the large turnout of people, the exercise was very peaceful. Abubakar disclosed that in the three registration centres:“we’ve registered not less than 300 people daily,” adding the exercise is impressive”. However, at Fufore Local Government Area, the situation was not the same as there was poor turnout, perhaps for lack of awareness. INEC’s Head of Publicity, Mrs Rifkatu Duku, said although the exercise was slow at the initial stage, there has been a lot of improvement as the exercise progresses. While applauding INEC staff for a job well done, Duku however lamented the fluctuating nature of mobile phone network in some areas as well as electricity failure. She assured that before June 2022 all voters registration issues will be sorted out.
CVR in Cross River encouraging – INEC
For about nine (9) weeks since the commencement of online pre-voter registration, pre-registration of applications have been received by INEC from the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR). This includes new Registrants, replacement of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC), transfers, etc. However, as at August 31, 2021, 11,808 Nigerians have completed their registrations online and in-person in the state, according to the state official in charge of voter registration, Tonia Nwobi.