Voter registration: INEC faults Uzodimma, says suspension stands

The Independent National Electoral Commission has clarified claims by Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State that it had resumed the Continuous Voter Registration in places where the exercise was earlier suspended in Imo State.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, gave the clarification in a statement on Tuesday, saying the position of the commission has not changed.

The commission had suspended the CVR exercise in all the 54 additional centres created to facilitate the registration of voters across Imo State following the attack on its staff in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area, and reports of insecurity in other parts of the state.

Following the suspension, Uzodinma had on Sunday claimed during a church service at the Government House Chapel, Owerri that INEC had agreed to lift the suspension, adding that the CVR would commence on Monday, April 25, 2022.

The governor was quoted as saying that his intervention became necessary to allow Imo citizens to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards before the next general election.

Uzodimma said, “By Monday, April 25, 2022, the CVR will resume in all the designated centres while the three local governments under ban will carry out the registration at their local government headquarters.

“Those who are deliberately scaring the people away from registering are enemies of the state who want to draw the state back knowing full well that the INEC registration and the population census are yardsticks for Federal Revenue Allocation to states and local governments.

But Okoye insisted that the exercise is still confined to the commission’s state and Local Government Area offices except in Orsu, Njaba and Ihitte Uboma Local Government Areas where it is suspended indefinitely.

He appealed to the public to discountenance the purported resumption of the CVR in the three LGAs of Orsu, Njaba and Ihitte Uboma.

“While the commission is not unmindful of the imperative of giving every eligible Nigerian the opportunity to register and vote in future elections, the safety and security of citizens involved in the exercise is a paramount concern.

“Such statements are capable of misleading the public and further jeopardising the safety of registrants and officials as well as the security of the Commission’s facilities.

“At the appropriate time, the Commission will announce any new decision on the matter after consultation with the security agencies and critical stakeholders,” Okoye said.

He maintained that INEC had an organised and official means of communication and has been upfront with providing information to the general public.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the commission has not appointed any unofficial spokesperson on any of its activities,” he added.

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