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2019 polls: Complaints trail display of voters’ register

2019 polls Complaints trail display of voters’ register

Complaints have trailed the ongoing display of national register of voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at polling units across the country, Daily Trust reports.

The display, which began on November 6 for public scrutiny and possible claims and objections, is slated to end on November 12, 2018.

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Our correspondents across the states report that that there were complaints as prospective voters troop to the display centres to check their names.

Findings revealed that the complaints ranged from omission to misspelling of names, as well as the appearance of the names of dead people and expatriates on the register. Others complained of being referred from one centre to the other to check their names.

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Our correspondent in Gombe, who went round some polling unit in parts of the metropolis, described the turnout of prospective voters as impressive.

A staff of the electoral commission in Gombe State, Dahiru Hamza, told Daily Trust that most of the complaints received so far had to do with omission of voters’ picture, error in date of birth and incorrect spelling.

“Since we started this exercise two days ago, only few cases of total omission of names were recorded. People are coming with one complain or another, but most of them are minor mistakes,” he said.

A woman said she saw names of three dead people in the register, adding that she would draw the attention of INEC officials with a view to removing them.

On their part, the two major political parties in the state – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed satisfaction with the exercise.

The Secretary of the PDP, Alhaji Buba Shanu, said the display will reduce the issue of multiple registrations and give people the opportunity to correct mistakes in their PVCs.

Also, deputy chairman of the APC, Mr Julius Ishaya, said they had monitored the exercise and were satisfied with the arrangement made by the electoral commission.

According to the INEC Public Affairs Officer, Mr Bigun Mohorret, a total of 1, 400, 392 voters have been registered by the commission in Gombe.

PVCs carted away in Kogi

In Kogi State, checks by Daily Trust indicated that INEC has commenced the display of the registers across the 2,548 polling units in the state.

It was equally observed that registered voters who were yet to collect their PVCs used the avenue to collect them.

However, at one of the registration areas at Egume in Dekina Local Government area of the state, it was gathered that some hoodlums invaded the area and allegedly carted away some PVCs meant for distribution to owners.

When contacted, the Head of Voter Education and Publicity at the INEC office in the state, Alhaji Bagudu Biambo, told Daily Trust that the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof James Apam, had gone to the area to ascertain the true situation of things.

He said the REC would brief journalists on the details of his findings upon return from the area.

On the issues of complaints emanating from the displayed register, Biambo said such complaints would be entertained between November 11 and 13 at the INEC registration areas across the state.

He said the preliminary voters register for the state contained a total number of 1,647,348.

Missing names in Bayelsa, Katsina

Some voters in Bayelsa State, who were registered during the last voter’s registration exercise, complained that their names were missing in the register displayed at various polling units in the state.

Also, there are few complaints about wrong spelling of names and putting people in the units and wards far from their places of residence.

At Ompadec field in Amarata, Yenagoa Local Government Area, a prospective voter told Daily Trust that his name was wrongly spelt but his photograph was okay. He said he would have lodged complain his name was missing.

Also, another person said he registered about three months ago but hasn’t seen his name on the register.

Bayelsa State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Cyril Omoregbe, had during a stakeholders meeting on Monday told the people that the essence of displaying the voters list is to ensure that mistakes were corrected.

In Katsina State, prospective voters were spotted at Kofar Kudu I, II, and III trying to find their names on the list with many of them saying they did not see theirs.

One of them who simply identified himself as Malam Hassan said “I’m confused! I have been voting in this primary school but can’t find my name on the register. I’m yet to lodge complain but will surely do so before the time elapse.”

Another voter was seen going through the list for the third time but insisted that he did not see his name.

The spokesman of PDP in the state, Sani Bello Jibia, said they had already told their members to go back to their respective polling units and check their names in case there were anomalies.

“By next week, the party will collate all the complaints raised by members with a view of pushing them forward for appropriate action,” he said.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Jibrin Zarewa, had at a stakeholders meeting said the register would be displayed in all the 4,902 polling units in the state and that those with complaints should channel them to Revision Officers (REVO’s) at the 361 wards in the state.

In Bauchi, where the display is taking place at the 212 wards across the 20 local government areas of the state, Head of Voter Education in Bauchi, Mohammed Yahaya Salihu, said the commission will use the period to distribute over 80,000 PVCs due for collection.

He said 382, 215 people had been added to the existing 2,057,211 registered voters in Bauchi State.

An INEC officer in Bauchi Local Government said the register had been displayed at some designated primary schools in the 12 wards of the council, adding that officials have been deployed to all the centres to attend to complaints of omission, dead people and illegal insertions.

When our reporter visited one of the centres at Baba Sidi Primary school, two women were seen going from one place to another looking for their names.

How expatriates appeared in Lagos register

The Lagos State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Sam Olumekun, said the total number of registered voters, including 700,000 newly registered voters, stood at 6,609,115.

However, it emerged that among the registered voters were nationals of Cameron, Chad, Niger, among other neighbouring countries.

Many of them were identified by the state command of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) during different raids.

The Deputy Comptroller of Immigration in the command, Owoeye Rufus, said 2,000 PVCs had been seized from expatriates.

Rufus said some of those apprehended claimed they were from Sokoto and Maiduguri, but that through their training, immigration officers were able to detect their actual nationalities.

He noted that there was an influx of Togolese and Beninese in Yaba area, adding that the local government authorities in should help INEC fish out the expatriates collecting PVC.

Voters register increased by 21 percent

INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had on September 6, while meeting with RECs in Abuja, said a total of 84,271,832 Nigerians had been registered to cast their votes in the upcoming 2019 general elections.

He said the number rose from the 69,720,350 voters registered for the 2015 general elections, saying the commission registered 14,551,482 new voters in its continuous voters’ registration exercise that took place for 16 months between April 27, 2017 and August 31, 2018.

Prof. Yakubu, however, noted that the figure would likely drop after the commission runs the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), saying over 300,000 names have so far been removed.

He said the voters register is being displayed across 120,000 polling units in the 776 LGAs of the country for Nigerians to check their names. He however urged members of the public to assist the commission in purging the register of ineligible voters such as illegal aliens and underage voters.

Daily Trust reports that based on the INEC Time Table and Schedule of Activities for 2019, the electoral empire would on January 7, 2019 publish the official register of voters for the general elections after corrections must have been made to the one currently on display.

Section 20 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides that voter register must be displayed not later than 30 days before the election.

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