The South-East South-South Network (SESSNet) issued a press statement on Monday on worrisome lapses in the on-going INEC PVC registration process which may lead to the mass disenfranchisement of millions of voters in the south-east and south south region. Don't forget we did share a 1st hand experience from concerned citizens on some criminal activities being perpetrated by INEC staff somewhere in Anambra state on the orders from above. Read here if you missed that info.
While the statement briefly highlighted the duties of the Network, it was noted that the organisation comprises of persons from South-East and South-South Nigeria who are focused in creating and sustaining a critical mass of the population to champion the quest for justice, equity, and good governance in a restructured Nigeria.
“In furtherance of its enshrined objectives, SESSNet has engaged in continuous understudying, monitoring and evaluation of the prevailing geo-political and socio-economic environment which manifests in the injustice and maladministration that besets the South-East and South-South region with a view to highlighting such issues, proffering solutions to them and forestalling repeats of actions and events that have kept the peoples of the twin zones in the pitiable state they have been consigned in the Nigerian polity.”
It was stated that the network has been monitoring the ongoing nationwide Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Personal Voters Card (PVC) registration processes with particular interest in how the process is being handled in the South-East and South-South region.
It was revealed that faulty equipment (computers and finger-print scanners), poorly and/or improperly trained INEC personnel, arbitrary demands from intending registrants which includes requests for copies of International Passports to show evidence of not being in Nigeria and evidence of employment and insufficient or non-availability of either INEC personnel or registration materials and equipments in some INEC wards are flawed process of the INEC-PVC registration process.
With furtherance, it was stated that these problems has created widespread disillusion and anxiety amongst eligible voters in the 11 States of the S-East and S-South region due to fears of likely disenfranchisement resulting from not being able to register within the time allotted for the process by INEC.
The statement read that: “The systematic and widespread nature of the problems encountered in the South-East and South-South during this INEC PVC Registration process, contrasts sharply with the smooth and hitch-free registration experienced in the Northern region and give rise to grave concerns.
“The current impasse in the INEC PVC Registration process in the South-East and South-South reminds of the very partial and pathetic experience witnessed in the region during the 2015 Presidential elections; when mass failure of INEC Voting equipment (computers and PVC and finger-print readers) and systemic failure of INEC personnel and material deployment disenfranchised many eligible voters.”
However, the network has called on the leadership of INEC to undertake a comprehensive review of its PVC Registration operations and activities in the South-East and South-South region with a view to ensuring that requisite equipment and qualified personnel to man them are deployed across the South-East and South-South.
It was also stressed that the electoral body should streamline the requirements for documentations for registration across the country such that intending voters in the South-East and South-South are not subjected to more strenuous conditions than their counterparts in other parts of Nigeria and the period of PVC registration process should be extended such that intending voters will be able to register on a continuous basis until one week to the election date.
In spite of these, the network urged all qualified citizens in the South-East and South-South region to take advantage of the INEC PVC Registration exercise to ensure they register and collect their PVC’s for use in elections.
INEC was also urged to ensure a level playing ground for all peoples and parts of the Nigerian Federation to ensure justice, equity and peaceful conduct of elections.
Finally, we hereby warn that SESSNet will not hesitate to seek judicial remedy to enforce above demands, the statement read.