Tony Okafor, Awka
A rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), has described as a lie the claim by the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) that it had deleted no fewer than 2.7 million double registrants on its register for the 2023 polls.
Recall that INEC had on Tuesday said it detected 2.7 million cases of double registration carried out during the last Continuous Voter Registration and that the affected persons had been deleted from the voter register.
The INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a National Endowment for Democracy event in Washington DC in the United States.
Reacting to that development on Thursday, in a statement by its board of trustees chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, Intersociety said, “Contrary to the above lies told, a recent independent graphic research evidence has exposed and disclosed that Nigeria’s INEC has deliberately, discriminatorily and ethno-religiously destroyed no fewer than 18.1m of over 27.4m voters registered in 2022 voters’ registration and validated only 9.3m others that are most likely represented disproportionately along Nigeria’s ethnic and religious lines.
“Nowhere was it also mentioned where the INEC Chair theoretically or graphically disclosed to his hosts in USA the number of migrants, minor and ghost names flooding the Nigeria’s National Register of voters including who brought them into the Voters’ Register, how they were smuggled into the Voters’ Register and whether such migrants, minors and ghost names, independently estimated at 15m by Intersociety have been deleted or not from the Voters’ Register.
The group said it had stated its position in a letter to Presidents of National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) about the irregularities in the INEC voter register.
The group’s statement read partly, “Intersociety, and International College for Democracy and Human Rights Scholars have graphically debunked the latest lies told by Nigeria’s INEC Chairman in the far away United States of America to the effect that “INEC has deleted 2.7m double registrations from the 2022 Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise”.
“A recent graphic research work, numbering 23 pages, put together by Nigeria’s Intersociety, locally and globally respected for in-depth research and investigation on democracy and human rights matters; had exposed a litany of illegalities perpetrated by Nigeria’s INEC ahead of the country’s crucial presidential election fixed for 25th Feb 2023. The INEC’s illegalities include identification of the 50 major poll rigging plots and the 12 major elections’ rigging Nigerian States to watch in the 2023 Presidential Poll.
“It is our observation that Nigeria’s INEC and its Chairman have become restlessly engaged in globe trotting and damaged image repair in addition to dishing out white lies before the international critical democracy partners. INEC had in its latest lies told at an event put together by the respected National Endowment for Democracy (NED) on Tuesday, 11th October 2022 in the United States disputably disclosed that “it has deleted 2.7m double registrations from the recent (July 2021/July 2022) Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise”.
“We had also stated in our Joint-Letter to respected Presidents of National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) that the highly disputable voters’ data account given by Nigeria’s INEC Chairman is nothing short of a case of a typewriter teaching an ICT expert on the functionalities of ICT including its biometric application.
“That is to say that if the Nigeria’s INEC Chair is truly ICT literate, he would not have made such mockery of himself and the Commission at such technologically advanced international capital. This is more so when the functions of ICT biometric technology are so elementary that they do not warrant special and international referencing as “INEC’s major policy achievement” ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Poll.
“The respected Presidents of NED, NDI and IRI were specifically told in clear terms that Nigeria’s INEC has been hiding or using “double/multiple registrations” as a cover to disenfranchise tens of millions of truly Nigerian citizens of voting age including destruction of 18.1m of the 27.4m voters’ registrations or registrants recorded in the 2022 Continuous Voters’ Registration exercise.
“These, the Commission has been perpetrating and perpetuating while turning total blind eyes on millions of migrants, minors and ghost names flooding the Voters’ Register as registered voters in Nigeria” to vote in the 2023 Presidential Poll.”