The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu, has announced the closure of voters’ registration in Anambra State ahead of the November 18 governorship elections.
Yakubu, who assured Nigerians that the Anambra election will be conducted free of hitches, said that registration would re-open immediately after the gubernatorial polls.
He gave this assurance on Wednesday while briefing the Senate committee on INEC on its preparations ahead of the state election and the 2019 general elections.
The INEC boss said 37 political parties will contest the election, during which the commission will engage over 23, 000 ad-hoc staff.
“The electoral act stipulates that we continue to register Nigerians 60 days to the general election,” he said.
“For Anambra, we have closed registration to re-open after the election and until 60 days before general elections. Because whatever we do, we have to be consistent with the electoral act. We are not doing registration in Anambra currently,” he added.
He said that the electorate who registered will get their voters’ cards before the election date.
Speaking further on preparations for the election, he told the lawmakers that INEC has made improvements on the electronic card reader to ease accreditation in the Anambra election.
“For Anambra election, we will deploy the existing card readers in terms of management but in terms of technological enhancement of the card reader, we will make sure that the processes are involved. We are working seriously to improve the card readers not only to make accreditation faster but to also enable us translate results electronically from the polling units.
“Sometimes, the issues about card readers are not technological. They have to do with the training of staff. There are places we have up to 92 per cent success of the use and there are other places where we have difficulties. This boils down in most cases to the staff who handles this machine. When the commission deployed this machine in 2015, there wasn’t so much training and voters’ education on its use. So, the interface between man and machine wasn’t as it today.”
On preparation ahead of the 2019 elections, Mr. Yakubu said the commission has registered additional three million Nigerians and already concluded plans to move INEC offices away from government establishments.
“INEC took the decision long before now that all our offices will be relocated from government facilities or facilities that we rent from people who are associated with politics. We haven’t succeeded in doing this. The reason is that we have over 820 facilities nationwide. It will take some time but a substantial number are no longer in local government offices.
“Ahead of the next general election, we will designate local government offices as declaration centres and not collation centres,” he stated.