INEC denies deleting 1.4million names from Lagos voters' register

INEC denies deleting 1.4million names from Lagos voters' register

Sunday, November 9, 2014 10:10 pm

INEC Chairman, Jega

INEC Chairman, Jega

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has described as completely false allegations that it has removed the records of 1.4 million persons from the Register of Voters compiled in 2011 in Lagos State.

The Commission said this on Sunday while reacting to controversies generated by hitches which have characterised its distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards PVC in some states of the federation.

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, one of the states which the PVCs were being distributed as well as his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is also the national leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress have accused the Commission of foul play with the reduction of names in the register of INEC being used to distribute the cards in Lagos by 1.4 million.

They, alongside other APC chieftains and other party leaders in Lagos have demanded explanation from INEC on the reduction.

But in a statement issued by Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of INEC on Sunday in Abuja, the electoral commission denied carrying out a wilful reduction of number of voters in Lagos even as it also tried to give reasons for the shoddy distribution of PVCs being experienced in some states.

According to INEC, while it is true that at the end of the 2011 general registration exercise, 6.1 million voters registered in Lagos state, when that data was subjected to the Automated Fingerprints Identification System (AFIS) software, 82,892 multiple registrations were eliminated.

The Commission added that there was the technical challenge of loss of data and incomplete data affecting about one million records – mostly in 1,792 polling units that were identified and made public before the beginning of the distribution of PVCs.

“That was why / how the Post-Business Rule figure for Lagos State (on the basis of which PVCs were printed) came down to about 4.6 million registrants,” INEC said.

It added that contrary to allegations in some quarters, no duly registered person has been delisted from the Register of Voters; neither will any be denied his / her PVC.

“For avoidance of doubt, a pre-acknowledged data loss and incomplete data of some registrants is not a ‘conspiracy’ issue as has been alleged by some notable persons.

It is a back-end technical challenge that is far from sealing the fate of affected persons, and for which INEC has already put in place measures to ensure redress,” INEC said while dismissing the notion that those whose names are missing in the register have been precluded from voting in the 2015 election.

“The Commission has made provision for eligible persons for whom PVCs could not been printed due to data loss or defective data to come out from Wednesday, November 12th to Monday, November 17th, 2014 for their data to be recaptured during the CVR.

“In special consideration for the 1,792 polling units in Lagos State where the challenge of data loss is much pronounced, the CVR will take place at the polling unit level, as against the Registration Area (RA) level in other parts of the state.

“The Register of Voters is the most important bedrock of the credibility of any election. It is, therefore, not in the best interest of the political process, or indeed the enlightened self-interest of the political elite, to needlessly impugn the integrity of the Register.

“INEC hereby reassures the public of its unwavering sincerity of purpose; which is the reason it has always come clean on its operations, processes as well as challenges.

The Commission also said it regrets the inconvenience caused members of the public by the initial hitches in the distribution of PVCs and pledges to attend to every eligible registrant within the scope of its outlined schedules.

The Commission also restates its determination to ensure that the 2015 general election meets up to global best standards, and solicits the cooperation of all Nigerians in this regard.

The Commission said it is making vigorous efforts to remediate temporary challenges that have been experienced in the third phase of the distribution of PVCs in some states which began on Friday, November 7th, 2014.

While noting that Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) is scheduled to hold in the same states from Wednesday, November 12th to Monday, November 17th, 2014.

The Commission attributed the shift in date in the distribution of PVCs in some parts of the States where the current exercise is going on to challenges of non delivery of cards by its printers.

“Similar exercises have already been conducted in 24 other states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the first and the second phases of the programme.

“The Commission deferred the distribution of PVCs in four other states it had earlier listed for this third phase because the cards for those states have not been fully delivered by printers.

“It is partly for the same reason that the Commission rescheduled the distribution of PVCs in limited areas of Lagos and Nasarawa states.

“The outstanding cards will, however, be certainly distributed in good time before the 2015 general election.

“They are presently being produced and have been scheduled for distribution under the fourth phase of the exercise from Friday, November 28th to Sunday, November 30th, 2014,” said INEC

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