- Category: Politics
- Published on Sunday, 08 August 2010 05:11
- Written by Sunday Tribune
- Hits: 1433
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has told his successor, Professor Attahiru Jega, that the current voters’ register, put together between 2006 and 2007 can be upgraded for the 2011 general elections.
This revelation is coming to light as Jega has insisted that there can be no credible, free and fair election on the basis of the current register put together with the use of the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machine while Iwu was in office.
Jega is thus requesting for between N57 billion and N74 billion to put together a fresh voters’ register and conduct the 2011 elections.
Iwu's position, contained in his handover note to Jega, which was obtained by Sunday Tribune from sources within the Presidency, noted that except for Akwa Ibom and Anambra States where there are major lapses in the register, those of other states have been successfully updated after the 2007 elections.
Iwu described the registers as “updatable, upgradable and will now and in the future serve as hosts for the voters’ registers.”
He said it was the opinion of the commission, under him, that embarking on a fresh voters’ register exercise would be counter-productive.
He said: “The first phase of the Voter Registration Review project had been concluded and from the analysis of the report of the harmonization and reconciliation of the polling units and registration areas with the Electronic Voter Register, only Akwa Ibom and Anambra States have serious problems with their registers. The second stage of the project was initiated before I went on leave but the methodology for the cleaning-up of the registers had also been established. A Nigerian designed software that would provide a seamless integration of all the segments of the database and the result of the VRR had also been identified and tested.
“The draft verifiable National Voters Register was scheduled to be ready by August 2010. The cascade of activities planned for the VRR include extensive and intensive training of all the participating staff, voter education and the involvement of civil society and political parties in the entire exercise, and the procurement of additional hardware and software.
“Contrary to the current campaign to denigrate the National Voter Register, it was the Commission's opinion that while revision of the register is in order and following international best practices, it would be counter-productive to embark on an entirely fresh registration exercise.”
Iwu said that already, a process for the continuous upgrading of the register had been put in place since after the elections in 2007, adding, “The National Voter Register has been reviewed in preparation for the forthcoming elections. The plan of work outlined provides for a) harmonization and reconciliation of the data from the Polling Units and the Registration Areas with the Electronic Voter Register data, b) cleaning up of the individual state EVR database, d) integration of the data from the continuous voter registration into the revised voters' register. The final stage of the Voter Register Review is the public display for inspection and fresh registration of those who did not find their names in the register or those who have not registered before.”
He said that the need for continuous update became necessary because “after the field exercise and processing of data in 2007, it was discovered that there was data loss due to improper backup procedure, crashed hard disk, loss of DDC machines, virus attack and improper data capture by some Assistant Registration Officers (ARO 1).
“The implication of the above is the discrepancies in the number of voters in the Electronic Register with those of the manual register (Form EC1A). A major task in the maintenance of the National Register is to find ways to contend with an environment in which a horde of desperate, unrestrained elements are out to ensure that there is no order and that nothing works unless it will advance their political ambition.
“The continuous voter registration commenced in each LGA office of the Commission in January 8, 2008. The registration is meant to take care of Nigerians who have turned 18 years and those who could not register during the last nationwide registration.
“The continuous voter registration commences each year in January and ends in December to enable the directorate backup and process the data to be given to political parties within sixty days in the New Year in line with the provision of the Electoral Act 2006. The data arising from the 2009 continuous voter registration have been processed for 26 states and already handed over to the political parties while the remaining 11 states are being processed.”