Underage voting: We can’t rule out infractions by our staff, INEC admits
On Thursday, the Independent National Electoral Commission vowed to discipline those responsible for the violations and the registration of minors as voters during the previous Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) campaigns.
The commission, however, maintained that proof of underage and multiple registrations in its preliminary voter register was ”committed to transparency.”
The National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, stated this in a statement on Thursday.
Okoye stated that the commission cannot rule out the possibility that its registration officials violated the law by allowing these ineligible people to register in the first place.
He said: “In addition to the physical display at the registration areas and local governments, the register is also displayed on the Commission’s website so that citizens can simultaneously make both claims and objections online throughout the duration of the exercise.”
“This is the first time that the Commission will be doing so and further underscores our commitment to applying technology to improve the electoral process.”
“So far, the Commission has been harvesting the online claims and objections. We will do the same for the manual process. At the end of the exercise, all claims and objections will be addressed. In this way, citizens are contributing to the strengthening of our electoral process.
“It is therefore in the foregoing context that recent media reports on the presence of ineligible registrants in the register should be seen.”
“The full display of all registrants speaks to the Commission’s commitment to transparency.” The fact that these likely ineligible registrants are being identified means that the objectives of the display for claims and objections are being met.
We implore the public to follow the procedures and report these objections for the necessary action of the Commission.
“In addition, the Commission cannot rule out infractions by its registration officials in allowing these ineligible persons into the register in the first place. Therefore, each confirmed case of infraction will be thoroughly investigated, and culpable officials will be disciplined.
He assured Nigerians that the Commission is committed to transparency and accountability in all its activities.
According to him, “we hope that at the end of the exercise, the Commission, with the involvement of citizens, will have improved the quality of the Register of Voters, which is the bedrock of a successful election.”
“Nigerians should note that perfecting the register is a continuous and painstaking process over time. Indeed, the presently displayed register contains all the voters dating back to the registration of 2011, not just the recent exercise.
“That some of these likely ineligible entries are being found presently confirms the Commission’s position that the best way to make the voters’ register more robust is for Nigerians to continue to scrutinize it and, more importantly, make their claims and objections for its improvement.” “We thank Nigerians for their sustained cooperation for the growth of our democracy.”