Letter to INEC: Extension of Voter Registration Highly Necessary
When the idea of using two weeks to execute the on going voter registration was communicated to the public by the federal government of Nigeria through INEC, I was one of those who contemplated on the ability and possibility of INEC'S ad hoc staff to deliver on the deadline given by the body responsible for the conduct of elections. My position as at the time was informed by the large number of eligible would-be voters which could take more than two weeks to be registered.
It was on record that initially, the federal government and INEC did not give in to calls made to allot more weeks to enable as many eligible voters as possible to be registered. It is heartwarming that at present, they are reconsidering their earlier position on the extension of the time frame for the registration.
The present change of mind is widely known to be coming on the heels of the recent technical challenges being experienced at the registration centers to wit; fingerprints hitches and poor passport quality, timely exhaustion of battery etc, which has slowed down the registration exercise.
The intension of President Goodluck Jonathan to extend the exercise beyond two weeks is therefore highly needed as well as a welcome development. This will offer the opportunity for exhaustive and comprehensive eligible voters to be captured.
As a matter of urgency, INEC should make every effort to ensure that the remaining 2,273 registration centers across the federation receive the Direct Data Capture machines as well as mount pressure on the contracting Firm; Avante Technology limited to expedite action on the supply of the remaining 16,500 units of the machines.
I appeal to the federal government to as matter of necessity make good its intention to extend the time frame for the exercise because if it does not, many eligible voters will be disenfranchised. INEC do not disfranchise Nigerians by sticking to the two weeks given for the registration of voters.
Finally, the federal government in collaboration with INEC should reconsider their position on the closure of public and private primary and secondary schools with a view to reopening them before its deadline expires as registration of voter conducted in the past did not lead to closure of schools for two weeks. Nigerians go and register.
Nwaorgu Faustinus Chilee, writes from Igboeche, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Mobile: +2348035601312. Email: [email protected]