The Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has expressed worries that no political party or individual has bothered to verify the voters register provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since 2011.
ISDMG’s Executive Director, Dr Chima Amadi, who briefed newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, said that there would be no credible elections without credible voters register.
He regretted that some political parties that would come up with allegations about manipulation of the voters register would still not make any effort to examine the voters register and bring complains and objections to INEC.
Amadi said that INEC’s response to ISDMG’s questions under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) indicated that the commission had complied with the provision of Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
According to Amadi, section 10 of the Act states that INEC shall, within 60 days after each year, make available to every political party, the names and address of each person registered during the year.
He said that INEC’s response showed with evidence that it had complied with the aforementioned provision and had recently in February, made available the register to the political parties.
“Unfortunately, no political party or indeed any person has utilised this beautiful provision of the law and presented any objection to the commission in the election of 2011 and 2015 since this procedure commenced.
“We urge all political parties who have received the voters register to duplicate them and send to their ward chapters who are closer to the grassroots for verification so as to identify all qualified names in the register.
“By so doing, INEC will have no options but to respond to all claims and objections raised by the parities.
“All aliens, underage persons and indeed all unqualified persons must have their names expunged from the voters register,’’ he said.
On her part, Faith Nwadishi, ISDMG’s Director of Mobilisation, said that INEC made the voters register available in order to get feedback from political parties.
She urged political parties to peruse voters register and bring their objections to INEC as the commission was trying to ensure that the gaps noticed in 2015 were closed.
In his contribution, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms, implored all citizens to stand up against all forms of collusion manipulation of voters register.
“It is not easy to input anything into the register except the communities, parties and security agents agree.
“The media should call out the citizens to examine the voters register,’’ he said.
Ezenwa urged INEC to engage Telecom companies in voter education as part of their corporate social responsibility.