CSO says political parties in Nigeria did not participate in voters' register cleanup.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, ISDMG executive director, Chima Amadi, it discovered that even though said following an FOI inquiry to the Independent National Electoral Commission has been complying with the provision of the Electoral Act and making voters register available to political parties, none of the political parties or individuals have bothered to verify the voters register provided by the INEC since 2011.
According to him, the Electoral Act 2010 (as Amended) in Section 10 (3) provided that the INEC shall, within 60 days after each year, make available to every political party the names and addresses of each person registered during the year.
"We were astonished to learn that all opposition parties in Kano state and indeed all other states where allegations of underage voters, aliens and other unqualified persons have ever been made, no political party in the country has ever reached out to INEC with any objection from the copies of the register which they hold," he said.
"The existence of a credible votes register is pivotal to having a free, fair and credible election. Where the integrity of the voters’ register cannot be guaranteed the outcome of any process flowing from such register cannot be said to have allowed this e votes of citizens to count.
"We urge all the political parties who have received the voters register to duplicate them and send to their ward chapters who are closer to the grassroots for verification so as to identify all unqualified names in the register. By so doing, INEC will have no options but to respond to all claims and objections raised by the Parties. All aliens, underage persons and indeed all unqualified persons must have their names expunged from the voters’ register," Amadi declared.
The election observer group’s boss expressed optimism that following measures being taken by the current INEC leadership, the 2019 election will be free and fair if politicians play by the rules.
Amadi said the suspension of the use of incident forms because of penchant for politicians to abuse it and the decision by INEC to acquire new enhanced card readers which will read finger prints a lot more easily and also register finger prints on the spot where the card is read as authentic and the face of the voter is cross-checked and verified from the register at the polling unit will ensure a credible poll in 2019.
He said the new card readers were used in the Anambra governorship elections and only recorded 0.01 percent failure and 90 percent of these failures were rectified there in the field.
He noted that the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections will provide ample opportunities for further tests and improvements to these innovations.