Friday, 23 June 2017

Civil Society groups engage INEC on continuous voter registration

Image result for picture of INEC and voters

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations in the State recently engaged officials of Anambra State Independent National Electoral Commission in their headquarters at Awka on how to improve upon the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) process.

Comrade Okey Onyeka, the chairman of Civil Rights Concern, Anambra State, who led the coalition made up of Transition Monitoring Groups, Voice to the People Partners (V2P), Civil Society Coalition on Transparency and Accountability (COTAG) explained that the engagement of INEC was a follow up to the coalition's monitoring exercise of the ongoing voter registration process at the LGAs in Anambra State to observe the process of implementation to see how far the exercise has complied with the provisions of the law and the administrative challenges being experienced in conducting the exercise and make some recommendations on how they can improve on certain areas of concern.

While commending the INEC for for their efforts so far in implementing the CVR law, the group expressed concern over INEC's adminsitrative structure and the challenges of getting all the eligible voters to register.

He recommended that there was need to decentralise the registration process because many people are not getting registered especially those far removed from the single registration point per local government as is obtainable presently.

Reacting to the state INEC's complaint of paucity of funds to increase their operation capacity, Onyeka opined that the sum of money budgeted for INEC registration process is enough to provide voter registration points in each of the towns in the states of the federation.

"Federal government should desist from making excuses when it comes to issues that concern the people because most of their budget is not spent delivering services," he said.

The group also raise the issue of the permanent voter's card not being taken by the registrants immediately after registeration which leads to many of the PVCs not being retrieved by their owners when they are finally ready and recommended that INEC makes provision for speedy production of the PVCS and on the spot issuance to the registrants.

Barrister Ongele Thomas, the Administrative Secretary INEC, Anambra in his response, said that Anambra State is given special preference in the ongoing registration process given that a gubernatorial election is around the corner.

He announced that while the CVR will still be going on, from the August 10 to August 16, 2017 INEC was going to set up Registration Areas (RA) at the various wards in the state  so that those who are unable to go to the local government for the registration during the CVR will be captured at their various wards. He also announced that the permanent voters card would be ready for collection by August, 2017.

Speaking concerning the upcoming gubernatorial elections, Barrister Thomas said that INEC is ready to conduct the  elections and will adopt the use of electronic devices to improve on the efficiency of the process this time.


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