INEC set to resume CVR, deploys 5,346 staff to 2,673 registration centres


After the expansion of voter access through the conversion of voting points and voting settlements to additional polling units, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed readiness to commence the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) on Monday next week. 
Chairman of the Commission Prof Mahmood Yakubu who stated this Thursday at a press conference in Abuja, noted that all equipment for the exercise have been acquired and updated the registration software.
According to the INEC chairman, the commission planned for the deployment of 5,346 staff to the 2,673 registration centres nationwide. 

“We are now ready to resume the CVR on Monday next week. We have acquired all the equipment for the exercise, updated our registration software and planned for the deployment of 5,346 staff to the 2,673 registration centres nationwide. Among the equipment for the exercise is a new registration machine called the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED).”

According to the INEC chairman, “this device is built around the concept of a Tablet computer and will replace the lap-top based old Direct Data Capture Machine (DDCM).”
He explained that the device was designed by the staff of the commission before it was fabricated abroad, explaining that “it is more mobile and efficient than the DDCM and could also be deployed to other activities, particularly the accreditation of voters during elections.”
The INEC chairman also made clarifications on how the device would be put to use.
“In our determination serve Nigerians better during the CVR, and in response to repeated calls by stakeholders, the Commission is introducing a dedicated portal for online registration. 

“The idea is for intending registrants to commence the process online by filling the forms and uploading their pictures and required documents, and then make an appointment on the web portal for a date and time to visit an INEC State or Local Government Area (LGA) office to give their fingerprints and complete the registration. 
“In addition, those who are already registered as voters can carry out all the other activities such as transfers, correction of personal details and replacement of damaged or defaced Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) online. 
“We hope that through this portal, we shall reduce overcrowding at our registration centres, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, make the registration processes generally easier, thereby giving Nigerians a pleasant electoral experience. 
“The portal will go live in the early hours of Monday 28th June 2021. However, I must quickly reiterate that the online registration is a public service and therefore free of charge. 
“There is no INEC-approved cybercafe, no online registration centre and no scratch card to be purchased for the exercise. All you need is a device, including your mobile phones, that can connect to the internet. 
“Citizens can complete the online pre-registration anywhere and at anytime they choose. Just follow the simple but detailed step-by-step procedure on the portal and contact the INEC Help Desk where necessary. The details are on our website.

He also allayed the fears expressed by some Nigerians that many citizens may be disenfranchised by the new digital arrangement. 
“The commission is aware that not all Nigerians have computers, smart phones, access to the internet or residing in urban and sub-urban areas. Some citizens may also have one form of disability or another to make it impossible for them to register online. 
“The commission is also aware of its responsibility under the law to provide every eligible Nigerian the opportunity to register irrespective of where they live or other circumstances of life. 
‘I wish to assure you that in addition to the online registration portal, there will be some 2,673 centres where citizens can register physically nationwide. Furthermore, the exercise will be carried out continuously over a period of at least one year thereby providing enough time for the Commission to reach all the nooks and crannies of the country. No eligible Nigerian will be disenfranchised.” 

He also spoke on security measures put in place in view of the attacks on INEC facilities.
“As a result of this profound concern, the Commission has made representations to government and had several discussions with stakeholders, including security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), political parties, civil society organisations and the media. 
“During these consultations, we shared our plans, hopes and concerns regarding the security threat that we currently face. 
“From the consultations, the stakeholders reached a consensus that it is important for the Commission to place a high premium on securing the lives of registrants and staff, as well as the protection of the expensive registration equipment to be deployed for the exercise. 
“Consequently, they advised that the Commission should adopt a graduated approach to the CVR exercise by starting online. After appraising the situation, the exercise can then proceed physically at state and LGA offices before finally deploying to all the 2,673 centres nationwide.” 

The chairman of the commission along with other national commissioners made presentation of the INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) to be used for the online registration while the Information Technology department of the commission carried out a mock registration to demonstrated the use of the IVED.