Barristers & Solicitors
Disenfranchisement: Review voting hours, CSO urges INEC
INEC election.fw

A civil rights organisation under the aegis of Connected Development has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to review its voting hours to avoid disenfranchisement of more than 30 million eligible registered voters in the 2023 elections.

The organisation said the demand became necessary after its observations of the just concluded Kenya general election.

The Director (Democracy and Governance) in CODE, Emmanuel Njoku, made the recommendation on Wednesday during the official launch of its annual report detailing various interventions and efforts to institutionalise governance accountability and transparency in Nigeria and Africa.

According to him, an INEC review of voting hours was recommended because if not done, more than 30 million eligible registered voters could be disenfranchised in the 2023 elections.

He said that this was because Kenya used the same Bimodal Voter Accreditation System device and also transmitted their results electronically just like Nigeria and that the process was practically the same while the only difference is in the numbers.

Njoku said, “Kenya’s voter register is just 22.1 million and the voter turnout was 65 per cent, which was about 14 million votes. In Nigeria, we are expecting around 45 per cent voter turnout which is close to 40 million people.

“Yet Kenyan polls open as early as 6 am and close by 5 pm, that is 11 hours for a voter register of just under 2.1 million. What that means is that everybody gets to vote. However, persons in Nigeria with higher voter’s polls open for just six hours from 8:30 am and close by 2:30 pm, that is just six hours for a voter register of 95m people.

“With the BVAS, it takes a person two minutes to accredit and vote, mathematically. If it takes one person two minutes to go through the process to vote, it means in an hour, it will take just about 30 persons to vote.”

Also speaking, the Research and Policy, CODE, Ani Nwachukwu, said that there was a need to address the security situation in the country, especially at the grassroots otherwise it would affect the 2023 general elections.

According to him, CODE is implementing a national security watch project that looks at analysing security breakdowns across the Federation and we are unveiling the first edition for the monthly security dossier.

“One of the key findings of the report is the trends of attack in the month of June, we discovered that out 114 incidents reported across mainstream media we recorded a number of 3,120 victims out of this 465 were killed.

“Then 350 persons were kidnapped, 120 persons sustained various degrees of injury, then 2000 persons were displaced, 60 percent of all recorded incidents in June were attributed to thuggery as the rural-urban distribution of attacks across the Federation showed that majority of attacks happened in rural areas.