Politics

Edo Election: Group accuses INEC of disenfranchising voters

A coalition of civil society organizations, under the aegis of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOS), has raised an alarm over the alleged denial of the voting rights of Edo State citizens by the Prof. Yakubu Mahmood-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Speaking at an emergency press conference in Benin City, the Edo State capital on Friday, president of the group, Comrade Abiola Daisy Igaga, accused INEC of flouting the provisions of the Electoral Act by not allowing potential voters register to vote.

According to Igaga, the press conference was organized to draw the attention of INEC and the general public to INEC’s disregard of Electoral Act 2022 as amended; and to the constitutionality of the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise towards ensuring that people are not unjustly disenfranchised.

“This is very important if the election is to be seen as inclusive and credible,” Igaga said.

Igaga expressed concerns that with the governorship election scheduled for September 21, INEC had not commenced the CVR exercise in Edo State despite clear provisions of the Electoral Law – specifically Section 10.1 of the electoral act – which states that: “There shall be continuous registration of all persons qualified to be registered voters.”

She therefore called on INEC to immediately obey the law, especially as a combined reading of Section 10.1 with Section 9.6 which states that CVR should end 90 days before an election means that INEC must conclude the exercise on or before the 21st of June, 2024.

“A reasonable percentage of the populace does not have confidence in the electoral process. It is the responsibility of INEC to consciously address the concerns of the people by delivering elections that are seen as free, credible and most importantly inclusive.We therefore call on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to live up to his promise to strengthen our electoral process.” Comrade Igaga added.

The group pledged to work with INEC to deepen voter education and combat voter apathy.

It called on the commission to show good faith by immediately resuming the CVR exercise in Edo State, adding that it is a mandatory provision of the law.

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