Voter disenfranchisement: SERAP dares INEC, threatens lawsuit
By John Eche
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has threatened to institute a lawsuit as a response to the imminent disenfranchisement of 7m voters in the country ahead of the 2023 polls, The Difference reports.
To avert this, the civil society group is urging Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to “immediately give seven million Nigerians who have carried out their voter registration online the time and opportunity to complete the process, so that they can obtain their permanent voter cards (PVCs), and exercise their right to vote.”
It will be recalled that INEC recently disclosed that out of 10,487,972 Nigerians who carried out their pre-registration online, only 3,444,378 completed the process at any of its designated physical centres. This number represents just 32.8 percent of completed online registration.
In a protest letter dated 13 August 2022 and signed by SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation in insisting that: “The right to vote is not merely the right to cast a ballot but also the right to be given the time and opportunity to complete the registration process, so that the right can be meaningfully and effectively exercised.”
Continuing, SERAP notes that, “Closing the gates on eligible Nigerians and denying them the time and opportunity to complete their registration cannot preserve trust in the electoral process.”
“Denying a significant number of eligible voters the time and opportunity to complete the registration for their PVCs would impair the right to vote of those affected, deny them a voice in the 2023 elections, and lead to disparate and unfair treatment of these voters.”
The group says it would proceed to challenge the INEC position in court if redress is not immediately granted the affected citizens.
INEC Chaurman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu