INEC May Not Make NIN Compulsory For Voter Registration

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) might have rejected the proposed use of the National Identification Number (NIN) as a requirement for voter registration.
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had last month, while citing Section 27 of the National Identity Management Commission Act of 2007, said NIN was compulsory for transactions such as bank account opening, payment of taxes and voter registration.

INEC had fixed the first quarter of this year for resumption of Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise. But speaking at a validation workshop for INEC voter education manual in Lokoja, Kogi State, yesterday, the commission’s spokesman, Festus Okoye, said the electoral body would not “impose or accept imposition of extraneous registration requirements not in tandem with the constitution and the law.”

Okoye, in his speech which was made available to journalists in Abuja, insisted that for registration of voters, the electoral body would, as always, be guided by the law and the constitution.

Although, the INEC national commissioner did not give details of the “extraneous registration requirements”, it was learnt that the commission was opposed to the use of NIN in respect to voter registration.

The commission’s position was said to be premised on the fact that both the Electoral Act and 1999 Constitution do not state NIN as a prerequisite for registration of voters.

On creation of additional polling units, Okoye hinted that the commission would soon release guidelines for movement of voting points to decongest the existing ones.

According to him, the electoral body would resume the continuous voter’s registration exercise as soon as the expansion of access to polling units is completed.

He noted that based on the new arrangement, new and some old registrants would have new, accessible and closer polling units, adding that all polling units would have a lower threshold of 750 voters and an upper threshold of 1000.

“It is pertinent to explain here that no voting point will be moved from one local government to another. It is also important to underscore the fact that the expansion of polling units will not confer any advantage on any state other than decongesting existing polling units, degrading overcrowding, aiding increase of voter turnout and improving the quality of legal services rendered by the commission. The primary objective of this is to make voting experience more pleasant and less tedious for Nigerians”, he stated.

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