The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it is unable to remove the names of dead persons from the voter register due to the absence of reliable data of births and deaths to rely on in expunging the names of such persons.
This implies that Nigeria may go into the 2023 general elections with a faulty voter register. This is compounded by allegations by some stakeholders that there are multiple registration and underage persons on the register.
They pointed out that a faulty register could affect the credibility of the elections as well as make the commission incur unnecessary costs, given that the commission might have to print ballot papers for the registered voters.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, told one of our correspondents in an interview that the commission could not remove names arbitrarily. He, therefore, asked Nigerians to support the commission in cleaning up the register.
Okoye said, “The commission displays the voter register for claims and objections but few Nigerians pay attention to the process. Nigerians must assist the commission to clean up the voter register by coming forward to point out deceased individuals or those that are not supposed to be in the voter register.
“Secondly, the country does not have reliable data of births and deaths and the commission cannot engage in arbitrary removal of the names of individuals it suspects are deceased.
“Our new software currently in use has been robust and has been detecting multiple registrants. We as a people and as a country must not condone and or connive in community aided and politically motivated under age registration. This commission is resolved and determined to prosecute all electoral infractions.”