By G9ija

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has lamented the low participation of eligible voters in the first quarter of the ongoing Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise in Ogun State.

The new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ogun State, Mr. Olusegun Agbaje who disclosed this to newsmen at a press briefing with journalists in Abeokuta, the state capital, said, the state recorded the lowest registration of voters in Southwest, compared to Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states.

Giving the figures of registered voters so far, Agbaje said, 46,937 residents of the state registered online while only 12,231 completed their physical registration. He revealed that Osun State has 63,259 completed voters’ registered, while Ondo has 20,632 and 19,128 people registered in Ekiti state.

Agbaje said, “as at the end of the first quarter of the online registration on 21st September 2021, only 46,937 registered online with 12, 231 completed their registration compared to Ondo, Ekiti, and Osun States.

He called on all eligible voters in the state to seize the opportunity provided by the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) to register to be empowered to exercise their franchise during the 2023 general elections. He equally called on all relevant stakeholders including the traditional rulers, religious bodies, political leaders, NGOs, women groups, and market leaders as well as the media to step up their ongoing efforts geared towards sensitizing the people on the significance of the CVR exercise.

He added that the second quarter of the CVR would commence between 4th October 2021, and December 20, 2021. He however warned that anyone who violates any relevant section of the law during the exercise particularly by engaging in multiple registrations would be identified and prosecuted accordingly.

“It has been observed that the level of participation of eligible citizens of the state in the first quarter of the CVR exercise both online and physical was very low compared to other states in the country particularly across the south west zones where states like Ekiti, Ondo, and Osun states that have less population of Nigerians compared to Ogun State performed far better.

“At this juncture, I want to inform the good people of Ogun State that the second quarter of the CVR will commence on Monday 4th October 2021 and will end on Monday 20th December 2021, and all those that are eligible and are yet to register are once again enjoined to take advantage of the exercise to enroll as voters. For emphasis, those that are eligible to participate in the CVR are Nigerians of the following categories”

” Those who are 18years and above and have not registered before. Registered voters who have had any problem during accreditation for any past election, with either their PVCs or their fingerprints not being read by the Smart Card Reader (SCR)”.

“Registered voters who want to correct issues with their data, such as misspelled names, dates of birth, etc, need not register afresh but apply for correction and replacement.

Registered voters whose PVCs are lost or damaged need not register afresh but apply for a replacement.”

Speaking on the agitation for the electronic transmission of election results during the 2023 general elections, Agbaje insisted that, INEC is absolutely empowered by the Constitution to transmit election results electronically without seeking the approval of the National Communication Commission (NCC).

He said it would be a great disservice to Nigerians and Nigeria’s democracy if the National Assembly prevents INEC from transmitting election results electronically.

” The commission is in no way shy in transmitting election results electronically. In fact, we have the capacity to do that. We are only waiting for the National Assembly not to disturb us. Even as we are now today, I believe that the commission has enough reasons and legislation to back us to do this”.

“People have been saying there is no law backing this, but we have a law, unfortunately, that law signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan was not brought out before the 2015 general election, but it was signed before the election. We have that law that also backs us to conduct our election using technology.

“Even without the National Assembly coming to our aid, the law we have has already capacitated us to go ahead to do transmission if the National Assembly will not stop us because if they are going ahead with this committee they have set at the two houses if the two houses now resolved that we should not do it, it means that there is a new law against banning us.

“But we have a law that has already capacitated us to do this thing, but if they are going to ban us then that will be too bad. But with the shout of Nigerians, the media, NGOs, and others, I believe that the National Assembly will do the right thing by allowing INEC to go ahead.