Nigeria’s electoral commission pushes biometric voter registration deadline to 31 July
The Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) has set 31 July, 2022, as the deadline for the continuous biometric voter registration (CVR) exercise, reports The Guardian, as the date for presidential elections in the country draws closer.
The move by INEC comes after a suit was filed by a civil society organization urging the elections management body to continue with exercise beyond an earlier planned deadline of 30 June. This request was actually granted as the court called for an extension of the deadline.
Seemingly, another suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) was dismissed, but the Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee at INEC, Festus Okoye, was quoted as saying the deadline extension followed consultations between INEC and other relevant stakeholders.
The court ruled that the deadline for the voter registration was up to INEC to decide, provided it conform to Section 9 (6) of the Electoral Act 2022 which stipulates that voter registration shall end no later than 90 days before the day of polling.
Presidential, parliamentary and state governorship elections in Nigeria are slated for February and March 2023, according to INEC’s electoral calendar.
“With the judgment of the Federal High Court, all legal encumbrances have now been removed. Accordingly, the Commission has taken the following decisions. The CVR is hereby extended for another two weeks until Sunday, July 31, 2022, thereby bringing the total duration of the extension to 31 days (1st – 31st July 2022),” said Okoye as quoted by The Guardian.
The official also disclosed that enrollment hours have been extended from six to eight daily, with Saturday and Sundays now also included as working days in order enable those willing to register, to do so.
With the deadline now extended to the end of the month, Okoye says INEC hopes to reach its set target of 95 million eligible voters.
While giving an update on the registration figures earlier this month, INEC said it had registered a total of 10,487,972 new potential voters as of 4 July, 2022. 9.4 million applications were complete. Of the number, 4.7 million registrants are women, 4.7 million are men while 71,000 of them are persons living with disabilities, according to another report by The Guardian report.