Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked insinuations that it denied over seven million Nigerians the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration during the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The electoral body described the claims as false and misleading, saying those in that category were to to be blamed for not doing the needful at the right time.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by INEC national commissioner and chairman, information and voter education committee, Barr Festus Okoye, he said Nigerians were given the opportunity to commence the registration online and then book an appointment at their convenience to complete the physical biometric capture at designated centres.
He recalled that the commission had on 28th June, 2021, introduced the online pre-registration of voters.
Okoye said, “It was a novel idea leveraging technology to ease the registration process. This was in addition to the walk-in option at physical centres, where Nigerians can commence and complete their registration simultaneously without going through the online pre-registration procedure.”
In the interest of transparency, he said the Commission provided weekly statistical updates on the exercise.
He stated that for the online pre-registration, a total of 10,487,972 commenced the process.
He appealed to Nigerians to always adhere to timelines as against the endless agitation for eleventh hour extension of set deadlines.
However, the commission said by the deadline of the exercise, 3,444,378 Nigerians completed their pre-registration physically at the designated centres in line with the Commission’s policy.
He continued, “Some 7,043,594 applicants did not complete the registration. Again, the Commission made the information public. This is what some people are now using to say that they were denied the opportunity when in reality they failed to either complete the online enrolment or appear physically at the designated centres to complete the process.
“A breakdown of the 7,043,594 incomplete online pre-registrations is as follows: 4,161,775 citizens attempted but either did not complete online pre-registration or abandoned it and went for the physical registration instead.
“2,881,819 registrants completed the online pre-registration but did not show up to complete the physical Biometric Capture at designated centres before the deadline.”
Therefore, he said it is clear that no Nigerians were deliberately denied the opportunity to complete their online pre-registration.