On Thursday, the Independent National Electoral Commission turned down the compulsory use of National Identity Number for voters registration at the 2023 elections which commences on the 28th June, 2021 in the 774 Local Government Areas.
According to Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC:
“The NIN is not going to be mandatory for the simple reason that we are operating on the basis of the law establishing INEC. Section 10 of the Electoral Act lists the means of identification to be presented by prospective registrants for the purpose of registration.
“These includes, birth certificate, national passport, national identity card, or any other document that will prove the identity, age, and nationality of the applicants. The NIN is only one of the means of identification provided for under section 10 (2) of the Electoral Act.
“We can’t single that out and make it mandatory. All the other requirements are requirements of the law and we must apply the law equally. Yes, if you have your national ID card, you can present it during registration but we will not make it mandatory means of identification for the exercise.”
Speaking further, he stated that the exercise would run till the third quarter of the year 2022.
Recall that it was slated by INEC to begin the exercise in the first quarter of 2021. Speakng on this, he said:
“The CVR could not recommence in 2020 due largely to the COVID – 19 pandemic. In line with the general advice by health officials regarding events involving large groups of people, we considered it inauspicious to restart the CVR at the height of the pandemic…In the light of the pandemic, the commision promised the nation that it would recommend the CVR in the first quarter of 2021.
“The first quarter of 2021 ended yesterday (Wednesday) and obviously the commision was unable to restart the CVR exercise…In consideration of these challenges and the measures we have taken to overcome them, the commision is now in a position to announce Monday June 28 2021 as the date for the recommencement of the CVR exercise nationwide.
“When it comes to voter registration, we expect perhaps higher crowd. Between 2017 and 2018 when we did the last voter registration, 14.2 million Nigerians registered.
“This time around, we are projecting something much higher anywhere between 16-20 million. We will make process safer for our staff and voters and that is why we are taking our time to develop online registration portal so people would not have to crowd around the polling unit for registration.
“On how it works, they will start the process online and there is going to be locator on the portal we are developing that will guide them to the next available registration center for the capture of their facial and biometrics. We hope that will also help us to deal with multiple registration. We want to completely eliminate multiple registration.”