The Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has carefully studied the last Sunday (31st July 2022)’s abrupt closure of the Continuous Voters’ Registration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and found that no fewer than 53m voters, in all, may most likely not going to cast their votes in the February 2023 Presidential Election. This shocking figure did not including millions of other registered voters likely to be disenfranchised by the Commission between this August and October 2022 using “multiple registrants” as a cover. It is our further observation that INEC’s electoral midwifery since 2015 has been characterized by ethno-religious divisiveness and sectionalism. The affected 53m citizens of voting age are strongly believed to be mostly Christians and members of other non Muslim population. Their ethno-religious percentage representation includes indigenous Igbo Christians about 40%, indigenous Northern Christians about 25%, indigenous Christians of South-South and South-West about 25% and indigenous Northern and Southern Muslims about 10%. That is to further say that ‘out of every five Igbo Christians and other non Muslim Igbo citizens of voting age, four are still not captured as registered voters, out of every five Northern Christians and non Muslim others, three are still not captured or registered and out of every five Northern Muslims, only one is still not captured or registered.
The 31st July 2022 abruptly ended CVR by INEC was brutally skewed and manipulated on the grounds of ethnicity and religion; a third of its kind since the 2015 and this has raised a serious integrity question on INEC especially on the Commission’s “independence”. This brazen incompetence and partisanship of INEC also confirms the recent shocking revelation by Abubakar Kawu Barage, a Chieftain of the ruling APC that “they (APC and INEC) brought Fulani militants and allied civilian aliens from neighboring Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Niger and Chad, etc to rig the 2015 Presidential Election”. The Northern Muslim citizens were so maximally captured in the just ended CVR exercise by INEC that “there are almost no one remaining, leading to capturing of millions of underage and illegal aliens from Niger Republic and others as “registered voters in Nigeria”. This is to the extent that millions of Southern and Northern Christians and non Muslim others of voting age were brutally denied registration including seven million denied physical biometric capturing.
24m Denied Registration And 7m Denied Biometrics:
By the United Nations’ Population Worldometer, Nigeria’s estimated population as at 5th August 2022 was 217m, out of which 55% or about 120m represent those in 18 Years and above. By INEC’s recently released statistics, Nigeria now has 96.2m registered voters, from 84m in 2019; out of which 20m have continued to be denied their PVCs or have them being destroyed by sponsored politico-religious fanatics and 7m denied physical biometrics capturing in the CVR as at 31st July 2022. In other words, out of over 120m Nigerians of voting age, only 96.2m were captured and 24m disenfranchised; and that out of 19.2m captured as ‘registered voters’ between June 2021 and July 2022, over 7m were disenfranchised on account of failure by INEC to physically capture their biometrics. INEC had at the end of the highly divisive and discriminatory CVR exercise announced that over 7m newly registered voters were unable to be physically captured biometrically at INEC registration centers across the country. The 7m affected citizens are those that registered online and others that did voter’s card transfer who have been trouping to INEC’s registration centers so as to complete their registration by being captured biometrically, but were frustrated by the Commission’s deliberately created hitches including inadequate personnel/machines and extortion. Instead of the Commission making provisions to get them to complete their biometrics, they were shut out and massively disenfranchised, in defiance of several calls by dozens of CSOs on the Commission to allow them complete their biometrics having finished their online registration before the close of the CVR exercise.
20m Still Denied PVCs By INEC Since 2019 And Only 60m Nigerians Presently Have PVCs:
By INEC’s recent official accounts, no fewer than 20m registered voters have not received their PVCs since 2019 and by our investigated patterns used by the Commission in PVC distribution, most of the uncollected PVCs, now deployed clandestinely by politicians in collusion with INEC for purpose of election rigging are strongly believed to belong to Christian Southerners, Christian Northerners and non Muslim others. The dumping of the 20m mostly Christian PVCs and their skeletal or non distribution are fueled by official adoption of proximities and proxies (i.e. District/Religious/Family Heads in Muslim North) for PVCs collection in the Muslim North as against strict and stringent methods such as dumping the PVCs in INEC LGAs’ offices and absence of its personnel to distribute them in all the Christian held areas of the South and the North. As at today being 8th August 2022, independently speaking, only 60m Nigerians are with PVCs and capable of voting in elections. This is out of 96.2m registered voters. This further means that there is no remarkable difference between 2019 and today in terms of number of voters holding PVCs in Nigeria
Millions Of Non Muslim Voters In Danger List Of Disenfranchisement As “Multiple Registrants”:
Our further checks have disclosed that additional millions of non Muslim voters are likely going to be in danger list of disenfranchisement by INEC between this August and October 2022. This will likely be done by the Commission using “cleaning up multiple registrants” as a guise. Having carefully observed some verbal outbursts and facially embittered comments of some INEC top shots including the Resident Electoral Commissioner for FCT against the surge in the turnout of prospective voters and different technical hitches employed to deny them registration as highlighted above; more millions of non Muslim registered voters are most likely to be affected. INEC had on 14th April 2022 claimed that “42% of the registered voters were invalid owing to double and incomplete registrations”. At the end of 30th June 2022, INEC gave further updates and claimed that “3.6m registrations were invalid or incomplete”. Our further checks have indicated that many, if not most of them are from the South and non Northern Muslim extraction. Critics have also added that INEC would have turned blind eyes and done the needful if the 7m registered citizens denied biometrics were to have come from the Muslim North.
INEC Has Colluded With Hired Fanatics To Destroy Its Held Millions Of Christian PVCs:
With recent discovery of over 20,000 Christian PVCs in Obio/Akpor area of Rivers State and another discovery 24 hours ago of thousands of Christian PVCs on an FCT road walkway, it may most likely be correct to say that millions of Christian PVCs held in INEC’s archives are being targeted for destruction by politically sponsored fanatics in collusion with INEC between now and January 2023. Nigerian social and mainstream media have been awash with reports in the past weeks about the discovery of dumped hundreds of thousands of INEC held Christian PVCs in bushes, forests, ditches, pits, gutters and road and street walkways across the country. On Sunday, 7th August 2022, a concerned citizen taking a walk exercise on FCT road walkway videoed thousands of Christian PVCs dumped inside Abuja gutters and scattered on walkways. Not long ago, another video trended on social media, exposing the excavation of over 20,000 Christian PVCs in Obio/Akpor area of Rivers State. There was also a discovery by a hunter about two weeks ago of 320 Christian PVCs inside an uncompleted building in Bayelsa Forest. In Igboeze North of Enugu State, about two months ago, INEC office was compromised and thousands of Christian PVCs made away with. Similar reports also abound in different parts of the North and as if these were not enough, another video surfaced three weeks ago involving some political aides suspected to be working for the Gov of Borno State wearing his customized faze caps and sharing N500 notes among women and children and collecting their PVCs at a location that looked like IDP Camp in the State. These are just to mention but a few.
Intersociety Challenges INEC To Disclose Ethno-Religious Identities Of Registered Voters In Nigeria:
We at Intersociety are strongly calling and challenging INEC to prove our statistical analysis and position wrong by releasing or disclosing the ethno-religious identities of all the registered voters in the country contained in the National Register of Voters in Nigeria. It is still the position of Intersociety that the gateway into election rigging in Nigeria or any part thereof is deliberate and massive disenfranchisement of millions of citizens of voting age during the Continuous Voters’ Registration. Therefore, until the above demand of ours is met by INEC, it remains the position of Intersociety that the Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission is not only far from being independent of political control and undue influences and grave adherence to ethno-religious vested interests of the powers that be but also has made credibility and popularity of the 2023 Presidential Election non-trustworthy and difficult. In all, it is most likely correct to say that INEC has dangerously and divisively cut off 50% of the voting capacity of non Muslims registered voters and increased those of Muslim voters by 80%, if not more.
INEC Now A Willing Tool In The Hands Of Anti-Democratic Forces In Nigeria:
It is shocking to note that INEC has become a willing tool in the hands of anti democratic forces in Nigeria, to the extent that the two gravest threats facing the country’s 2023 Presidential Election and its transition of power are the country’s INEC and locally and regionally assembled Islamic Jihadists. Intersociety had few days ago strongly warned against Nigerian Government aided and abetted incursions by the Jihadists into the country’s Federal Capital City with intent to overrun the City and the country’s Seat of Power and centrally Islamize the country. On the other hand, the recently formed powerful coalition of Int’l College of Democracy and Human Rights Scholars-comprising over hundred Professors, int’l rights and democracy campaigners, PhD holders and leading Democracy and Rights CSO actors in Eastern Nigeria and beyond the shores of the country had in their recent scholarly letter to INEC Chairman through the Commission’s National Commissioner on Voter Education (Festus Okoye Esquire) listed 30 election rigging plots ahead of the 2023 Presidential Election and demanded that the Commission publicly speak on them and denounce and discontinue them, if true; a demand the Commission dangerously ignored till date. The College under the coordination of Intersociety and its int’l partners shall be speaking on the issue very soon including its next line of action against the Commission.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist-Researcher), Board Chair
Barr Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance
Barr Chidimma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity