The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has extended the continuous voters registration that was initially meant to end this week to August 31, 2018. As much as the extension is welcome, it will make little or no difference in the system. At this juncture, it is important to state that INEC has placed a bottleneck on itself and has made what should be a seamless process a needlessly uneasy one.
January 2018, I went to the Ikorodu office whose location itself has been a subject of controversy owing to the fact that it was located in a private estate that is at least 20 minutes’ drive to the main gate. The process is simple. You have to write your name on a dedicated book handled by the estate security. The writing starts from 6am and close by 8am. By 9am, the estate gate will be opened for interested individuals to proceed on the almost 40 minutes’ walk to the office where they will only attend to 60 individuals per day while others will have to repeat the process the next day which is very cumbersome. I followed the process and I finally registered after four trials. The situation is still the same at the office, in fact worse.
All appeal to INEC in Ikorodu to adjust their operation has fell on deaf ears. In other parts of Nigeria as we have in Ikorodu, the situation is the same coupled with extortion by some INEC officials in connivance with the estate security and this occurs everywhere with many sad tales across the country. It is disappointing that in 2018 Nigerians still have to queue for voter’s card when the world is currently getting things done with ease through technological interventions.
With the multitude of databasse that we have in Nigeria from International Passport to National ID card, BVN number we still need another for INEC? Something is definitely wrong somewhere. What INEC has done with the extension is only a temporary salve on an enduring problem. Until INEC embrace better technological approach to its registration, the cries of disenfranchisement will continue to soar high.