The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been compelled to extend the deadline for continuous voter registration earlier slated for June 30, 2022, and online pre-registration for May 30, 2022, to enable more enthusiastic eligible voters to be accommodated democratically.
The CSO groups, in a jointly issued press statement, noted that it is unavoidably pertinent that the electoral umpire consider extending the deadline as a result of the rising number of influx trailing the recent turnout of Nigerians willing to perform their civic duties in 2023 off-cycle elections, vis-à-vis the odds against them in terms of time, particularly “first-time voters.”
In the same vein, it claims that those who want to move or transfer their PVC, correct names, and date of birth will be able to do so.
The CSOs were of the opinion that the extension given to political parties to carry out their primary extension by INEC would have been more widely acceptable if it had been given to more Nigerians who were willing to exercise their franchise to register for permanent voter cards (PVC).
The statement reads in part that, “It’s worthwhile to note that voters are critical stakeholders in the electoral process and should be treated as such.” (As the saying goes, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.) Hence, treating all eligible Nigerian voters fairly would advance the people’s right to vote and to participate in their own government.
“Moreover, we are certain that extending the deadline for voter registration would be absolutely in accordance with constitutional and international standards and the Electoral Act 2022 as well.
“Furthermore, any such extension would not negatively impact INEC’s election calendar and activities.”
The organization also stated that now is the time for INEC to show that voting is as important as they always claimed.
The CSO groups are: Speak Out Africa Initiative, YVoteNaija, PROMAD Foundation, Civily, Policy Shapers, LEAD Africa, and Gender Mobile Initiative.