The voter’s card exercise is categorized; for individuals who turned 18 after the last concluded registration exercise and for those who for certain reasons could not partake in the registration exercise. Before we go further, a brief history.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established in 1998 by the Abdulsalam Abubakar administration to oversee all that concerns election into office in Nigeria. Before establishment of the INEC, at the time before Independence, the Electoral Commission of Nigeria was established to conduct elections in 1959. The 1964 and 1965 post-independence federal and regional elections were conducted by the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO), which was established in 1960 and was officially ended in 1966.
The military government of General Sani Abacha established the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria in December 1955 in order to conduct the immediate elections but the elected institutions were not impeached before the suspicious demise of General Abacha in June 1998. Later in the same year, the National Electoral Commission was officially dissolved and subsequently, the INEC was established in 1998 by General Abdulsalam. As a launch, INEC regulated the transitional elections that brought to spotlight on May 29, 1999, the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
The voter’s registration has not received due attention since 1999 but in 2014, INEC proposed the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) meanly six months to the designated 2015 general elections which was on February 21 2015. At that time, 70 million citizens were registered as reported though only a ratio of 28 million voted leading to a further analysis which proofed that 60 million out of the 70 million people were eligible voters, proofing wrong the initial percentage.
Fast forward to the present, INEC is still the body responsible for the training and implemented of every tiny detail that has to do with the election in the country. By constitution, 2019 is the next election year after 2015 and going by the date and preparations of the Independent Electoral Commission, they are not ready to make the same mistake. One mistake cannot be repeated twice, you know? With reasons to proceed, INEC have begun the preparations for the 2019 elections which is seen in the commencement of the continuous voter registration in different centers in Nigeria, which was announced on April 2017 by The INEC Secretary in Niger, Aliyu Bungudu, who made the disclosure at a one-day forum for election stakeholders held in Minna.
He said that the registration exercise was to ensure that no eligible voter was denied the right to elect leaders of their choice. Mr. Bungudu assured the stakeholders that INEC would not shirk its responsibility in that regard, and urged them to mobilize the people to get registered. “The voter registration exercise will continue at the local government levels when it commences, till few months to the conduct of 2019 general elections. The exercise will scale down to registration areas/wards and polling units that record zero registration during the last exercise.” This is due to the fact that apart from the thousands of eligible voters who could not register in 2015, thousands of others have attained the voting age of 18 and are now due for registration. What plans are there to ensure that eligible voters are registered? The strategy lies in making the registration process easier and wider coverage across the country. Our country is developing, thus, our roles as citizens need to be played sincerely.
The continuous voter registration which was set to kick off on 27th April 2017 at the INEC Local Government offices nationwide and remains continuous all year round had commenced.
CVR CENTRES: The Continuous Voter Registration which carried out at INEC Local Government Area offices have now been distributed amidst the geographical zones in the country including Anambra, Yobe, Cross River, Sokoto, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Ondo, Jigawa, and the rest of the states in the federation.
HOURS OF CVR: The Continuous Voter Registration exercise will take place at the INEC Local Government offices and designated centres on working days which are from Mondays to Fridays between the hours of 9.00am and 3.00pm daily excluding public holidays.
DISPLAY OF PRELIMINARY REGISTER OF VOTERS (PRV): The Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) shall be displayed for public scrutiny at registration Centres at the end of every quarter before printing of PVCs. The Registration Area Officers (RAOs) will print the list of registered voters for the quarter and display same at the Registration Centres for 7 days. The Register shall be clearly marked Preliminary Register of Voters.
The main activities of the CVR Nationwide are:
- Fresh Registration
- Transfer of Voters
- Distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVCs)
ELIGIBILITY STATUS FOR CVR
To be Eligible for CVR, the individual:
- Must be a citizen of Nigeria
- Must have attained the age of 18 years, on or before the registration day.
- Is above 18 years and could not register in any of the previous registration exercise.
- Is resident, works in, or originate from the LGA/Area Council or RA/Ward covered by the Registration Area Centre.
- Not subject to any legal incapacity to vote under any law, rules or regulations in force in Nigeria
- Must present him/her self to the CVR officers for registration and is able to provide proof of identity, age and nationality, if requested;
- Has registered before but his/her name/photograph/fingerprints were not captured; such a person must provide his/her Temporary Voters Card (TVC)
- Has PVC or TVC but names not on Register of Voters.
CONTINOUS VOTER’S REGISTRATION PROCEDURES
Below are the CVR registration formalities;
CVR is done in person and not by proxy: Anyone who wishes to register must be present in person at the CVR Centre of registration. There is no registration by proxy, meaning, nobody can register for you in your absence.
Multiple registrations is not allowed: A Voter can only register in one registration Centre, if the voter resides in more than one constituency, he/she must choose only one location to register to avoid double registration, which is an offence punishable by law.
Registration is a pre-requisite for voting in elections: Registration is a pre-requisite for exercising the right to vote. Those who don’t have PVCs and whose names are not in the Register of Voters will not be allowed to vote on the Election Day.
CVR is inclusive: Voting is a constitutional right for all eligible citizens. The Register of Voters must include as many eligible citizens as possible and registration centres must be accessible to all qualified persons.
Registration is conducted in the INEC Local Government Offices or in public in order to be accessible to accredited National and International Observers, Party Agents as well as representatives of Media Organizations
There are INEC officers who undertake the supervision of the CVR exercise. They include:
- Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC);
- Administrative Secretary (AS);
- Electoral Officers (EO);
- Assistant Electoral Officer (AEO);
- Registration Area Officer I (RAO I);
- Registration Area Officer II (RAO II);
- Registration Area III (RAO III);
- Registration Area Officer IV (RAO IV);
- Distribution Officer (DO);
The CVR Officials play very important role in the electoral process. The manner in which they discharge their duties will affect the confidence of the citizens in the electoral process and the electoral authority. They are expected to be courteous, polite, helpful at all times, treat all persons equally and with respect. All their actions and activities should be characterized by the highest professional standards including:
- Gender sensitivity
- Priority and support to vulnerable Groups including the aged, infirm, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Temporary Voters Card (TVCs) will be issued to registrants at the point of registration, while the PVCs of those registered in Quarter 1 (Q1) should be ready for collection in Quarter 3 (Q3), and Quarter 2 (Q2) will be ready in Quarter 4 (Q4) etc.
The last week of each quarter will be for display, hearing the Claims and Objections and housekeeping (Data backup, Consolidation, Reporting etc).
The Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) shall be displayed for scrutiny at Registration centres at the end of every quarter before printing of PVCs. The RAOs will print the list of registered voters for the quarter and display same at Registration Centres for 7 days. The Register shall be clearly marked Preliminary Register of Voters.
TRANSFER OF VOTERS
Every Nigerian has the right to live in any part of the Country. An important part of Voter Registration is that an eligible person is advised to register at the centre nearest to his/her residence. This is to make it easy for the voter to access the Polling Unit (PU) and vote on Election Day. Nevertheless, a person who has relocated to another place outside the unit in which he/she registered cannot vote in his/her new location unless he/she transfers his/her registration.
For the list of approved centers in Akwa Ibom State, check INEC website www.inecnigeria.org.