INEC has explained why deceased Nigerians cannot be removed from the voter roll prior to the 2023 general election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) blamed its inability to remove the names of deceased Nigerians from the country’s voter database on Friday on a lack of adequate data on deceased individuals.
According to this online news platform, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, stated this during a meeting with Nasir Kwarra, chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He expressed regret that technology could not assist the commission in identifying and removing deceased individuals from the public record.
Currently, 84,004,084 Nigerians are registered to vote, but there are concerns that the INEC register is grossly inaccurate due to the commission’s failure to purge it of deceased individuals.
INEC and the NPC signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2018 under which the NPC would provide information about deceased voters to the electoral umpire, but little progress has been made.
Yakubu explained that the commission had been cleaning the voter register on a periodic basis, removing ineligible individuals or multiple registrants using a combination of technology.
He maintained that while INEC has the country’s largest biometric register of citizens, complete with photographs and fingerprint information for voter authentication, there is a need to further strengthen the voter register’s credibility.
The INEC Chairman therefore urged the NPC to make available the electrical umpire data of deceased Nigerians on a periodic basis to ensure the register is properly cleaned up.
“Perhaps you would like to begin by providing us with a list of deceased prominent Nigerians, civil and public servants compiled from official records of Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, and other Nigerians compiled from hospital and funeral records across the country.
“We recognise that this is a herculean task, which is one of the reasons we have an NPC. We are confident in NPC’s ability to accomplish this. This information is critical for INEC to improve the National Register of Voters’ credibility,” Yakubu told Kwarra.
Yakubu stated that the two commissions had embarked on one of the most imaginative and extensive inter-agency collaborations in Nigeria in the area of electoral constituency boundary delimitation.
He recalled that officials from both agencies collaborated on a project to align INEC’s Registration Areas (RAs)/Wards with the NPC’s Enumeration Areas (EAs).
According to him, the RA/EAD Project was established to enable INEC to easily delimit and periodically review electoral constituencies based on NPC data whenever a new population census is conducted.
“This cannot be accomplished without precise population data,” INEC’s head stated. This is one of the reasons why no constituency has been delimited in Nigeria in the 25 years since the defunct National Electoral Commission of Nigeria conducted the last exercise in 1996. (NECON).
“By collaborating with the Population Commission, we are determined to make a difference this time around, just as we did in Nigeria when it came to voter access to polling units.”
The electoral umpire, he stated, had. prepared and produced a discussion paper on Electoral Constituencies in Nigeria, which examined the issues in greater detail, including the critical need for a new population census.
“To date, the RA/EAD project has covered 261 local government areas (LGAs) across the country. I am aware that NPC has expanded its footprint in terms of LGA coverage. We are currently finalising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will be signed shortly,” Yakubu stated.