The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said new Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) would be made available by November.
At a National Endowment for Democracy event in Washington DC in the United States, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, said 2.7 million double registrations were weeded out of the last Continuous Voters Registration exercise conducted by the commission and about 50% of the new PVCs are ready but yet to be distributed to collection centres.
He also raised concerns about the rising levels of insecurity across the country, saying the Commission has its fingers crossed.
“It is a perennial issue because, at the end of the day, it is not new but the dimension of the insecurity is new in the sense that in the past, it was localised or confined to a particular part of the country, the North-East but now, it is more widespread.
“We are keeping our eyes, particularly, on the North-West and the South-Eastern part of the country. Elections are conducted by human beings. We worry about the security of our officials, materials, and even the voters themselves. Without them, elections cannot be conducted,” he said.
Yakubu said they have spoken to the security agencies and have been assured that the situation will improve before the elections.
Last month, at a forum with members of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, Yakubu said the commission is making preparations for around 95 million voters in next years’ general elections.
He said, “For the 2023 general elections, INEC is making preparations for approximately 95 million voters. Yes, we have 84 million voters now; we have registered 12 million newly. None of the fresh registrants has been added to the register. We are cleaning up the register.
“Some people said they discovered so many fictitious names on the register. When I heard that, I asked myself: ‘Which register?’ We have not even compiled it. We are cleaning up the data; so, how come that someone already knows the register, which is supposed to be compiled by the commission? It is a very serious matter for us, because it touches at the heart of credible elections.
“So, some of the people, out of mischief, are talking about what they don’t know. But let me assure Nigerians that no name from the recent Continuous Voter Registration has been added to the register of voters. The law requires us to clean up the data, which we are doing. Thereafter, Section 19, subsection 1 of the Electoral Act says we should throw the register open for Nigerians for claims and objections, so that the citizens can also help the commission to clean the register further.
“This will be done for at least one week in all the 8,809 wards in the 774 local councils in the country. We haven’t done so yet, but we will do that so that Nigerians will have the opportunity to look at the new registrants before we add them to the new register. So, there is no new register as such; we are still in the process of cleaning up.”