Erstwhile presidential spokesman, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, who served from 2007 to 2010, has given Nigerians an idea on how to ensure that instances of underage voting in a recently conducted local council election does not repeat in subsequent polls in the country.
Following viral reports and images of some underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers in Kano council election, DAILY POST had reported that Nigerians took to social media to express worries over the competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.
In his latest article entitled: ‘2019 and the vote conjurers’, the former presidential spokesman advised Nigerians and other stakeholders to take advantage of provisions of the Electoral Act to ensure that those below the suffrage age are excluded from the voting process.
He wrote, “INEC, based on the provisions of the Electoral Act, gives Nigerians the opportunity to interrogate the voter register before it is finalised and on the eve of General Elections. That register, including pictures of registrants, is displayed at registration centres and polling units nationwide for claims and objections. The purpose is for the register to be interrogated by citizens and purged of ineligibles (under-aged, aliens etc). But how many Nigerians care to check, let alone help INEC to clean up the register?
“Unfortunately, once finalised, it requires a legal process to delete the names of voters from the register. It becomes even more difficult where there is community complicity/connivance as it is most often the case. That explains why the collaboration of all the critical stakeholders is important if we must rid our elections of fraud. But there is a far more fundamental problem that is being glossed over.”
Meanwhile, DAILY POST is aware that under the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2017 recently passed into law by the Senate, INEC is mandated to publish voters’ registers on its official website(s) for public scrutiny at least 30 days before a general election and any INEC staff who is responsible for this but fails to act as prescribed shall be liable on conviction to six months’ imprisonment.