At its regular meeting today, Tuesday 14th August 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took a number of decisions.
I. Registration of New Political Parties
The Commission approved the registration of 23 new political parties. It had received a total of 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties. After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met all the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.
This brings the number of political parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16th February 2019. This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.
The newly registered political parties will receive their Certificates of Registration from the Commission on Thursday, 16th August 2018 at the Commission’s Headquarters.
II. Issuance of Notice of Elections
On the 9th of January 2018, the Commission issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections. The first of 14 activities in that timetable is the issuance of Notice of Election, which is scheduled for Friday, 17th August 2018 in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). This activity kick-starts the countdown to the 2019 general elections.
III. Extension of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR)
The ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) across the country commenced on 27th April 2017. The Commission decided to make the exercise truly continuous for the first time by opening permanent registration centres in all our 774 Local Government offices and 672 other centres. This was to ensure that all-year round, Nigerians who turn 18 years and who had not registered previously have an opportunity to register. Consequently, the current CVR has been going on for 16 months. As at 11th August 2018, the Commission has registered an additional 12, 139,061 new voters.
In order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) in good time for the general elections the Commission, after consultation with stakeholders, decided to suspend the exercise with effect from 17th August 2018, to resume after the elections. However, many Nigerians have appealed to the Commission to extend the exercise. Consequently, the Commission has decided to extend the CVR to 31st August 2018. The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres every day, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9am and 5pm.
The Commission wishes to inform the public that the ongoing collection of PVCs will not end with the CVR exercise. Collection of PVCs will continue until close to the general elections.
MOHAMMED KUDU HARUNA
National Commissioner and Member, Voter Education & Publicity Committee