- Category: Politics
- Published on Monday, 14 February 2011 09:59
- Written by ThisDay
- Hits: 2882
As the voter register goes on display nationwide today, THISDAY can report that Lagos State came tops in the registration exercise with a total figure of 6.2 million, thereby retaining its traditional No. 1 position.
At the end of registration in 2006, Lagos came tops with 4.2 million voters while Kano came a close second with 4.07 million—a gap of approximately 130,000.
However, this year’s figures show a gap of approximately one million, although these figures are provisional.
An official of the Independent National Elect-oral Commission (INEC) told THISDAY last night that the significant difference between Kano and Lagos could be traced to a change in registration pattern by South-easterners.
“From our findings, Igbos were afraid to go back to the South-east to register because of the fear of kidnap. Lagos State is a major beneficiary of this development,” he said, explaining that in the past, a large number of South-easterners often went home to register.
Lagos is believed to host the largest population of Igbos outside the South-east.
Kidnappings have been rampant in the South-east, although the wave has died down recently.
THISDAY could not get a full list of the official registration figures as at last night but they are not expected to be significantly different from what will be displayed from today till Friday for verification for objections and claims.
Other provisional figures gathered by THISDAY are: Benue (1.9 million), Borno (2.4 million), Bauchi (1.6 million), Jigawa (1.8 million) and Sokoto (1.8 million), Ondo (1.6 million), Katsina (2.9 million), Edo (1.6 million) and Delta (1.9 million)
Last week, INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said about 63.9 million Nigerians were captured by the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines and registered as voters in the just concluded exercise. This number, he said, represented about 85 per cent of returns received from registration centres across the 36 states of the federation including Abuja.
The list will be displayed in all the 120,000 polling units during the period for the public to register their claims and objections.
This exercise did not take place in 2006 and was partly blamed for the problems of the now old voter register.
Meanwhile, INEC has charged five persons to a Magistrate's Court in Jega, Kebbi State, for allegedly violating the Electoral Act during the nationwide voter registration.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Kabir Ahmed, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that two of the accused persons engaged in double registration in Gwandu and Birnin Kebbi Local Government areas.
He said the commission registered a total of 1,638,325 voters in the state during the exercise.
Ahmed said the exercise was successful, stressing that some of the challenges it encountered were addressed while registration officers were orderly.
The REC said apart from the initial protests by NYSC Assistant Registration Officers who objected to their non engagement for the exercise, no negative incident was recorded.
He said the extension of the registration in 28 centres in Birnin Kebbi, Suru, Yauri and Bagudo was conducted smoothly.
Ahmed said the cordial relationship among security agencies and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that conducted the election contributed to its success in the state.
In Gombe State, no fewer than 1.26 million voters were registered during the exercise, the REC, Mr. Godfery Miri, said.
He also said in Gombe that in spite of the limited resources for logistic support, security men in the state did very well during the exercise.
Miri, however, expressed dismay over the “bad behaviours of some of the corps members'', adding that in spite of the shortcomings of INEC, the exercise was successful.
“They wanted to choose the types of vehicles they will use; if you bring a pick-up vehicle for them, they will say they will not enter.
“But some of them were really dedicated and reported cases of under age people trying to register,’’ he said.
Miri said a stakeholders' meeting held in the state helped to mobilise people to come out en mass to register.
The REC said INEC noted the challenges faced and had forwarded same to the national headquarters, to guide the general elections.
“I believe INEC will definitely not fail Nigerians in the forthcoming general election and will conduct free, fair and credible elections,” he said
In a related development, the commission has concluded plans to begin the verification of the voter registration today throughout the country.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, made the disclosure in Abuja at the weekend.
According to him, the exercise would take place from February 14 to February 18. Idowu said the list of registered voters would be displayed in all polling units to enable members of the public to register their claims and objections.
He added that the exercise also would be an opportunity for INEC to rectify irregular entries in the register.
"Perhaps you know an underage who registered or somebody who procured double registration or any fraudulent practice; this will be an opportunity to tell the commission.
"Based on such information, we will deal with such cases expeditiously according to the law,’’ Idowu said.
The image maker pointed out that the exercise, which had not taken place in the immediate past, partly accounted for the problems that characterised the old voter register.
He urged Nigerians to turn out in their numbers for the exercise.