Recently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the date for the commencement of the continuous voters’ registration. The exercise is set to begin on the 28th of June, 2021 through a date before the general election in 2023.
Over the period of our so called nascent democracy, it is mostly believed among Nigerians that votes don’t count, as the nation’s political leaders have device ways of rigging even the least of elections; foisting their will and those of cronies on the people. The corrupt processes have led to political apathy, and It is the reason why many Nigerians have lost confidence in the system.
However, recent events should awaken all eligible Nigerian of the need to take their destinies in their own hands, by becoming active players in the political process, which primarily guarantee the choice for Nigerians to decide who become their political representative at all levels of government.
The starting point to becoming a stakeholder in the Nigerian project is registering to become a voter.
Currently, Nigeria has registered voting strength of over 84 million, with the capacity to accommodate more voters as the continuous voters’ registration is set to begin, we should all be part of the process.
While the registered figure is laudable, it’s disturbing that just about 30-35% turn out for elections. For instance, the total votes at the last general election were just about 26 million (34% of the registered voters).
As the CVR commences, INEC, political parties, security agencies and civil society organizations should also do more work on voter education, mobilization, election security, trust and confidence building among others to ensure that the Nigerian people are actively involved in the election process.
We strongly advise and reiterate that the INEC and political parties should pay close attention to voter registration sensitization campaigns in order to break away from the tradition of having long queues when elections are a few weeks away. Also, the process should be made easier and more seamless than what was previously obtainable so as to encourage more people turning out for registration.