January 27, 2023

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Nigerian registered voters 22 million increased than remainder of West Africa, Yakubu tells US viewers 


The Impartial Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) Nigeria’s variety of registered voters is 22 million increased than the variety of registered voters in the remainder of West African nations put collectively.

Chairman of the Fee, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, acknowledged this 

at an occasion organised by the Nationwide Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Worldwide Basis for Electoral Programs (IFES) on the NED Headquarters, Washington.

Prof Yakubu informed the viewers that “it’s precisely 136 days to Nigeria’s 2023 normal election, including that It’s the seventh successive normal election because the restoration of democracy in Nigeria 23 years in the past in 1999.

He continued, “That is the longest unbroken interval of democracy and democratic elections since independence from British colonial rule 62 years in the past in 1960. We’ve by no means had this lengthy spell of unbroken interval of democracy, democratic governance and elections.

“The election is important as a result of the incumbent President shouldn’t be eligible to run, this being his second and remaining time period. There are 18 political events within the race to provide the following President to be elected by 95 million voters. 

“We had over 84 million registered voters in 2019.  However with final Steady Registration of Voters (CVR), we’re going to add at the least 10 million Nigerians and that may take the Register of Voters to 95 million. 

“I say this and I gained’t be uninterested in saying it to an viewers like this: In West Africa, there are 15 nations together with Nigeria. However the whole variety of registered voters within the 14 nations mixed is 73 million. 

“In Nigeria, it’s going to be 95 million. So, there can be 22 million extra voters in Nigeria than the entire of West Africa put collectively. Every time Nigerian goes to the polls, it’s like the entire of West Africa voting. And these 95 million residents will vote in 176, 846 polling items.

“Past the presidential election, governorship elections can even maintain in 28 out of the 36 states of the nation. In eight states, elections are held off season however there can even be elections for all 109 Senatorial districts within the nation, 360 federal constituencies, 993 state constituencies and the Presidential, making a complete of 1,491 constituencies for which 18 political events are sponsoring 12,163 candidates. 

“Their names, ages, incapacity standing, tutorial {qualifications}, the celebration they’re representing, the constituency they’re contesting in are all on our web site for each the nationwide and state elections.

“The timetable launched by the Fee in February this 12 months recognized 14 important actions to be achieved by the Fee resulting in the election day. Thus far, 9 out the 14 actions have been efficiently achieved and marketing campaign by political events and candidates has commenced nationwide. 

“We learnt quite a lot of classes from the overall election carried out in 2015 and 2019 in addition to the 103 off cycle elections and bye-elections because the 2019 normal elections. We now have launched improvements to extend transparency and guarantee credibility of the electoral course of. 

“The brand new Electoral Act with its many progressive provisions has supplied authorized backing to the improvements. On this be aware, I’ll like to understand the civil society organisations and different stakeholders for the extraordinary advocacy resulting in the passage of the brand new legislation. We had been there earlier than and nearly there in 2018, however there was no new legislation handed, which made it very, very tough for the Fee, as a result of we had been ready for the Electoral Act to be handed, it wasn’t handed. 

“For that purpose we couldn’t conclude our Rules and Tips, which attracts from the provisions of the Electoral Act and we might additionally not speedily conclude our manuals for the coaching of ad-hoc employees. However we’re very comfortable that this one has been concluded lengthy earlier than the election. It offers us ample time for planning.

“These improvements are actually supplied for and guarded by legislation, particularly these leveraging on know-how to enhance voter registration, voter accreditation, consequence administration and the promotion of inclusivity for marginalized individuals resembling girls, youths and individuals with incapacity.

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“For the primary time within the historical past of voter registration in Nigeria, residents got the chance to start their registration on-line, guide an appointment at their comfort to finish the registration bodily at designated centres by going there to seize their facial and fingerprint biometrics. Those that don’t have entry to the web have the choice of finishing their registration bodily on the designated centres. The web choice was launched on the advice of many stakeholders, notably younger individuals. A few of them approached the Fee and stated that “for those who can introduce one thing on-line in order that we don’t must go the bodily centres, it is going to be very useful.”

“The Fee designed the portal. It was very useful for us within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the protocol of social distancing. It wasn’t only for the aim of registration that we launched a portal. We launched different portals for issues like accreditation of observers, media organisations, nomination of candidates by political events and nomination of polling brokers by events. 

“It has additionally helped us to cut back the extent of litigation arising notably from the conduct of political events as a result of now it’s an interplay between the celebration brokers and the machines and anytime you logged out and in, there’s a time stamp, so you’ll be able to’t argue. When you argue, we’ll produce the proof of what occurred. And at 6pm on a hard and fast date,, the portal robotically shuts down. If any celebration has any drawback, it’s not the Fee. 

“Many voters seized the chance of the web registration throughout the interval of 1 12 months between June 2021 and June 2022 when that choice lasted. Equally, the bodily registration continued concurrently with the web pre-registration for a interval of 1 12 months together with a one-month extension in response to attraction by residents. On the finish of the train, 12, 298, 944 residents accomplished  their registration. That is greater than your complete voter inhabitants within the Republic of Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde.  We’re such an enormous nation of nice potentials.

“We now have accomplished the cleansing up of the information utilizing the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) that mixes the fingerprint and the facial authentication of registered voters. Those that registered twice, those that are underage or those that had no purpose to register as supplied by legislation have been weeded out. The train was accomplished a couple of days in the past. We now have not even shared the knowledge with Nigerians, however we now have 2.7 million invalid registrants they usually have been weeded out. We’ll proceed to take steps obligatory to guard the integrity of the Register of Voters as a result of it’s basic to the conduct of elections. There can’t be credible elections and not using a credible register of voters.

Nigerians have been asking the Fee, once you end registration and clean-up of the information, what about our Everlasting Voters’ Playing cards (PVC)? This can be obtainable for brand spanking new registrants by subsequent month – November.  We’re early to the center of the month to make the playing cards obtainable. We now have already printed over 50 p.c of the playing cards however we haven’t delivered them to the states but. As we clear the information, we additionally print the playing cards. Nigerians who’ve registered ought to be relaxation assured that they’ll have their playing cards forward of the overall election. We additionally want to take action in good time as a result of the legislation now requires us to publish the variety of playing cards collected per polling unit.

On the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), what we now have achieved principally is to retire our good previous Good Card Reader (SCR). 

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The SCR by definition reads the cardboard. Every biometric card has a chip embedded inside it and within the SCR, you might have the sam card. So, there’s a handshake between the sam card and the sim card which allows the SCR to extract the voter’s info from the Everlasting Voter Card. 

However what we now have achieved with the BVAS is to domicile the information of registered voters in a polling unit within the BVAS. So sure, the BVAS additionally reads the cardboard, however there are a number of how of studying the cardboard. 

When you enter the Voter Identification Quantity (VIN) of the voter, his/her info pops up. However even for those who verify that the voter is registered and his title has been licensed by the BVAS, she or he should undergo biometric accreditation utilizing the fingerprint and if this fails, the choice of facials is used. And that is additionally assured by legislation.

On what BVAS has achieved, the INEC boss stated “it has eradicated a number of accreditation that was noticed in earlier elections. Now, you’re completely certain that the one that is accredited is definitely the voter and the bearer of the cardboard.

“It has elevated public confidence within the final result of elections as proven within the latest off cycle elections. Individuals are usually extra assured now with the safety of the method of accreditation utilizing know-how.

“It has eradicated using the Incident Type. For these of you who’ve been following our elections for a very long time, when the Card Reader was launched, the machine would learn the cardboard, however it might not learn the biometrics. So, when it fails to learn the biometrics, they then say – give the voter the Incident Type. 

“And although that, many individuals voted utilizing id theft. We now have eradicated the Incident Type. So, each registered voter should undergo the biometric and the facial, and we jokingly say that the one method the 2 processes can fail, notably the facial, is when the voter forgets his or her face at residence on election.

“The system of utilizing the BVAS for the conduct of elections has come to remain. There’s no going again.

“One other innovation that we launched is the INEC End result Viewing (IReV) portal. We’re maybe one of many few nations on the earth that transmits polling unit stage leads to actual time on election day. Proudly, I can say we’re the primary to introduce it in Africa. 

“I used to be in Nairobi in August they usually did so, however I informed my buddy, (Wafula) Chebukati, (Chairperson of the Impartial Electoral and Boundaries Fee of Kenya) that he should have borrowed the thought from Nigeria. In 2017, they tried to transmit uncooked knowledge. However in Nigeria, we are saying don’t transmit uncooked knowledge, however transmit scanned photos  of the polling unit stage outcomes which is safer and fewer vulnerable to hacking than transmitting uncooked figures.

About IReV, he stated “Outcomes are uploaded from the polling items in actual time and this has elevated transparency in consequence administration. A few of you right here might recall that the Observers’ Studies from 2019 harped on the necessity for the Fee to make sure transparency in consequence administration. That is our response to the request for larger transparency in consequence administration.

“It has helped us to get rid of the falsification of outcomes at polling unit stage to the collation centres. Generally, because the outcomes transfer from the polling unit stage the place the election is carried out to the collation centres, among the figures modified. 

“However now all people sees the outcomes from the polling unit stage and among the political events which have their very own scenario rooms really know the end result of the elections even earlier than we make an official declaration. However they nonetheless have to attend for our official declaration anyway.

*We now have deployed the IReV in 105 off-cycle and bye-elections. We imagine that the system is strong and we’re taking further measures to safeguard and fortify our internet sources usually in opposition to threats of assault.

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On the inclusivity, Prof Yakubu stated “we now have created a brand new Division of Gender and Inclusivity within the Fee and inside the limits of accessible sources, we now have supplied Assistive Units for Individuals with Disabilities, resembling Braille Poll Information and Magnifying Glasses for the imaginative and prescient impaired and people dwelling with Albinism.

“This was particularly advisable by the Albino Basis. We work with the Albino Basis to offer Magnifying Glasses and we work with Inclusive Pals to offer the Braille Jacket, which has the acronyms of political events in Braille. The one who wants it inserts the poll paper within the jacket and such individual can vote unassisted. However for individuals who don’t learn braille, they’ll nonetheless convey trusted relations on election day.

“We now have posters for people who’re laborious of listening to as a result of in addition they complained that “INEC supplied Braille Jackets and Magnifying Glasses, what about us? We will see, however we are able to’t hear, what can we do?” So, the Fee created posters for them which they’ll learn on election day and we’ll proceed to offer extra to make sure inclusivity.

On youth, the INEC chairman stated, “The passion is nice. Majority of our registrants, 71 p.c, are younger folks between the ages of 18 and 34. So, we’re excited simply as they’re excited. The extra we introduce know-how, the extra they get excited.”

On the challenges confronted by the fee within the conduct of the election subsequent 12 months, the INEC boss stated 

“The primary concern is the perennial problem of insecurity in several components of the nation, compounded by the standard problems with thuggery throughout elections organized by among the political actors. 

“I say it’s a perennial problem as a result of on the finish of the day, it’s nothing new. Nonetheless, the dimension of the insecurity is regarding within the sense that previously, it was localized or confined to a selected a part of the nation, the northeast. However now it’s extra widespread and we’re holding our eyes notably on the northwest and the southeastern components of the nation.

“Elections are carried out by human beings. We fear in regards to the safety of our officers, voters and the supplies to be deployed. With out them, we can’t conduct elections. We now have spoken to the safety businesses, they’ve assured us that the scenario will enhance earlier than the elections. So, fingers crossed. Those that are purported to safe the setting have assured us that they’ll safe the setting for us to conduct elections. Our accountability is to conduct elections.

He stated “the social media has been a pressure for good. The Fee doesn’t assist censorship. We imagine that the antidote to pretend information is larger transparency and openness and we now have been demonstrating larger transparency and openness.

He stated “the social media performs an important position in voter schooling and deepening democracy but it surely additionally has the potential of skewing the narrative with the improper info that  impugn the integrity of officers or search to delegitimize the Fee and the method both earlier than, throughout or after the elections. 

“Publication of pretend election outcomes is a possible set off for violence. What we now have achieved is to proceed to deepen our cooperation and relationship notably with the organized social media. In Nigeria, there’s a discussion board known as the Guild of Company On-line Publishers (GOCOP). 

“They’ve over 80 members and solely final week, I used to be in Lagos and engaged with them. We’ll proceed to have interaction with them. However the issue shouldn’t be all the time with the organised  on-line platforms, however with the lone rangers or teams utilizing platforms that complicate issues for everybody.”