By Emmanuel Adeleke
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked reports that it deliberately denied around seven million Nigerians the opportunity to complete their online registration during the last nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
This was contained in a statement issued by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, on Monday.
INEC described the claim as misleading and false.
“To set the record straight, Nigerians may recall that on June 28, 2021, the commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters. By doing so, citizens were given the opportunity to commence the registration online and then book for an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres.
“It was a novel idea leveraging on technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete thier registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.
“In the interest of transparency, the commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise. For the online pre-registration, a total 10,487,972 commenced the process.
“However, by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the commission’s policy. Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration. Again, the commission made the information public. This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.
“A breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations is as follows: 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration instead.
“2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres before the deadline.
“Therefore, it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration. We appeal to citizens to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh hour extension of set deadlines,” INEC said