The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday expressed the determination of the commission to deepen democracy through the use of technology.

He also put the number of Nigerians who have completed online voters’ pre-registration at 542,576.

Yakubu, at a meeting yesterday in Abuja with the resident electoral commissioners, said: “I would like to reassure Nigerians that the commission will continue to spare no effort in deepening the use of technology to ensure electoral transparency and credibility.”

He spoke against the backdrop of the clamour for the inclusion of electronic transmission of election results in the 2010 Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021, amidst efforts by the leadership of the National Assembly to delete the provision from the bill.

Yakubu said the voters’ register remained at the heart of any credible election.

He added: “We are working hard to ensure that just as we had a smooth take-off of the online pre-registration, the commencement of the physical registration will similarly be hitch-free.”

He said the first quarter of the physical registration would commence between June 28 and September 30, while the second quarter of the exercise will start October 4 to December 30.

Also, the third quarter of the physical registration will start from January 3, 2022, to April 1, 2022, and the fourth quarter will kick off on April 11 to June 30, 2022.

Giving update of the exercise, Yakubu said two weeks since the exercise began, a total of 542,576 Nigerians have completed the online pre-registration.

According to him, out of this figure, 456,909 are fresh registrants while 85,667 have applied for voter transfer, replacement of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and update of voter information record among others.

He added that the commission is able to provide Nigerians with information on the distribution of registrants across the states and by age, occupation, gender and disability.

“Out of 542,576 online registrants so far, 356,777 (or 66 per cent) are young people between the ages of 18 and 34 years.

“This is followed by 134,719 middle-aged registrants who fall between 35 and 49 years. The third category is elderly persons aged between 50 and 69 years of which 44,896 Nigerians have registered. Interestingly, some 6,184 senior citizens (aged 70 years and above) have taken advantage of the new online opportunity to register,” he explained.

On the occupational distribution of registrants, the INEC chairman said: “156,446 are students; 38,217 artisans; 24,421 farmers and fishermen; 150,145 businessmen and traders; 35,831 employed as civil and public servants and 8,334 housewives.

“The remaining 129,182 registrants did not specify their occupations. On gender, 321,781 are males while 220,795 are females. In our effort to serve all Nigerians better, the commission has requested registrants to indicate their disability (if any).”

He explained that the essence of this will enable INEC to efficiently deploy assistive voting devices such as Braille ballot guide and magnifying glasses for persons with special needs at polling units on election day.

He added: “We have data for 6,558 registrants who have clearly indicated their type of disability.”

Yakubu said a detailed information, including state and occupational distribution, had been uploaded on the commission’s website and social media platforms, while the commission shall also continue to provide the weekly updates throughout the duration of the CVR exercise.

According to him, the commission is aware that not all Nigerians have access to computers, smart phones or internet connectivity to register online.

“We have repeatedly assured every eligible registrant that there will also be an opportunity for physical or in-person registration at designated centres. Even the online registrants will have to complete their registration physically at those centres.

“Our aim is to activate some 2,673 centres to which we intend to deploy 5,346 officials for in-person registration,” he stated.

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