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Nigerians score INEC high as online registration hits 1.6m

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•195,591 citizens added to voter register
Nigerians on social media have hailed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the ongoing online Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).

INEC had begun the online pre-registration on June 28, while physical registration commenced nationwide on July 26, 2021. Seven weeks after commencement of the exercise, INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said in a statement, yesterday, that the number of fresh registrants has risen to 1,609,981, while 195,591 citizens have completed physical registration.

The figure, however, does not include applications submitted by people who requested voter transfer, replacement of PVCs, or update of voter information record.

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Nigerians, who have made use of the online portal, described the website as user friendly and easily accessible.

According to them, the online CVR portal is a testament that the commission has the ability to deploy Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for future elections in the country.

A Facebook user, Segun Abolarin, said the deployment of an online portal for voter registration is a welcome development from an institution working to deliver to Nigerians free, fair and credible elections.

According to him, innovation such as this would create a sense of belonging and reduce voter apathy. “The website should be made more interactive by assigning a team to respond to people’s inquiries,” he suggested.

Another user, Prince Ismail, advised other government agencies to learn from the electoral umpire, saying: “I have an awesome time using the portal and I think if other government agencies adopt such systems, governance would run perfectly without making life difficult for citizens and it will also reduce corruption in agencies.”

Kolade Ayinde said the success of the online portal suggests that electronic voting has become a necessity. He said INEC has no excuse not to allow mobile phones as one of the voting channels.

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He said: “Bank Verification Number (BVN) and National Identity Number (NIN) can be used as authentication checks. Opportunity should be given to those that want to vote online, real time, and those who want to vote manually should be allowed to do so. INEC must develop the capacity to ensure electronic voting security.”

On his part, Olajide Balogun said: “INEC is modernising its processes with the future in perspective. Hope the National Assembly delivers modern amendment in due course.”

Some users, meanwhile, lamented delay in receiving mails after creating accounts and difficulties in uploading their pictures at the point of registration.

Okeh Cosmas Chinonso described the process as a beautiful idea but noted that uploading pictures was so stressful. “I created my account and completed the first step but now I am stuck in the area of uploading the two pictures,” he said.

Another user, Ismail Garam, urged the electoral body to intensify enlightenment on the new CVR process, especially in the Northern part of the country.

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