The Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) will now end on 31 July, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced.
The commission’s spokesperson, Barrister Festus Okoye said on Friday in a statement that the decision was in compliance with the court ruling affirming that “INEC is at liberty to appoint a date of its choice to suspend the CVR, provided it is not later than 90 days before the date fixed for the General Election as provided in Sec. 9(6) of the Electoral Act 2022”.
On Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the suit seeking an extension of the exercise beyond 30 June. The application was filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 185 other concerned Nigerians.
Having run the exercise for almost two weeks after the initial date was fixed, INEC said on Friday that the CVR would now close on 31 July.
“In compliance with the interim injunction of the court pending the determination of the substantive suit, and in order to enable more Nigerians to register, the Commission continued with the CVR beyond 30 June 2022. For this reason, the CVR has already been extended beyond 30 June 2022 for a period of 15 days.
“……The CVR is hereby extended for another two weeks until Sunday 31 July 2022, thereby bringing the total duration of the extension to 31 days (1 – 31 July 2022)”, the statement said.
With the legal obstacles off its ways, the INEC, at its extraordinary meeting held on Friday, made some adjustments in its operation of the CVR.
Okoye explained that the exercise had been extended to include Saturdays and Sundays as against only weekdays. The commission also extended the exercise to “eight hours daily from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm instead of the current duration of six hours (9.00 am – 3.00 pm) daily. We appreciate that the timeframe may be tight for many prospective registrants, but there is a lot that the Commission is required to do under the electoral legal framework in relation to voter registration and compilation of the register that will require time to accomplish”, he said.
On INEC’s successes so far, Okoye said the commission has put measures in motion to clean up its register so as to remove multiple registrants using the Automated Biometric Identification System.
He noted that the commission has a projection of 95 million voters on the basis of 10 voters per page and has to print 9.5 million pages for the display.
INEC, however, complained of a low turnout of registrants at its centres following its compelled extension of the exercise two weeks back.
“We observed that following the continuation of the exercise beyond 30th June 2022, many of the registration centres recorded low turnout of prospective registrants. With this two-week extension, we appeal to eligible citizens not to wait until the last few days before they inundate the centres again to register”, Okoye said.