The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has come under heavy criticism over discrepancies in data across its voters’ register.
On Saturday, the commission published on its website the preliminary register of voters’ polling units for the 2023 elections.
According to INEC, the register was displayed so eligible voters can confirm their details and report ineligible voters who might have been captured.
Following the register’s release, some Nigerians on social media have displayed snapshots of voters who appeared to have been registered multiple times. In some cases, a couple of names had no pictures.
Checks by TheCable revealed multiple registrations in states like Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
Social media users have also reported cases of voters who seem to be underage, with seemingly falsified dates of birth.
The outrage from Nigerians has been intense since INEC said it carried out a “robust” clean-up of its register.
Speaking at the commission’s 2022 third quarterly meeting with political parties, Mahmood Yakubu, INEC’s chairman, said using its automated biometric identification system (ABIS), the number of newly registered voters was filtered after millions of fake voters were identified.
“At the end of the [CVR] exercise, 12,298,944 Nigerians successfully completed the registration as new voters. All along, we have repeatedly assured Nigerians that our process of cleaning up the register is robust,” he said.
“After a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the automated biometric identification system (ABIS), a total of 2,780,756 (22.6%) were identified as ineligible registrants and invalidated from the record, among them double/multiple registrants, underaged persons and outrightly fake registrations that fail to meet our business rules.
“Consequently, the number of valid registrations (post-ABIS) is 9,518,188.”
The INEC chairman also said identified officials involved in invalid registrations would face disciplinary actions.
Reacting to the fury of Nigerians, Festus Okoye, INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, said the essence of the preliminary voters’ register was for citizens to make claims, raise objections, and identify biodata errors.
“We want people to look at the register and assist the commission to check whether their names have been properly spelt; whether their personal particulars have been properly captured; whether some pictures are not upside down; whether there are still names of deceased persons on the register; whether there are obviously underage persons on the register, so that we can correct them.”
“We use our automated biometric identification system to remove multiple and double registrations and then we did what we called manual adjudication to remove obviously underage persons.
“Apparently, there are still obviously underage persons on the voters’ register and we expect Nigerians to take a look at the voters’ register, both the ones we displayed at the various registration centres and LGAs and also on the website, and assist the commission to point out these things so that the commission can further clean up the register.”
However, Nigerians have continued to knock the commission for an “incomplete” clean-up and a slow response to the concerns raised.
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