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Edo 2024: Tell the world what you’re doing with CVR, Youths coalition calls out INEC

A coalition of youth organisations in Edo state under the aegis of Edo Youths Arise Initiative (EDYAI) has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)…

A coalition of youth organisations in Edo state under the aegis of Edo Youths Arise Initiative (EDYAI) has challenged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to tell the world why it has not started the Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise for the September 21, governorship election in the state.

The youth group alleged that there is a grand conspiracy by the electoral body to disenfranchise Edolites knowing full well that it is statutorily bound not to continue the exercise anytime less than 90 day to the election.

In a statement in Benin City on Friday, National Coordinator of the coalition, Jerome Omonogbe Tadefua, said Edolites are worried at the refusal of INEC to begin the CVR across the state. The coalition wondered why the electoral body is bent on disenfranchising thousands of potential voters, especially youths.

“We are worried and alarmed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has not said anything about the statutory Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in the state ahead of the September governorship election.

“As it is now, even if the INEC begins the CVR today, Edolites will have only about 45 days for the exercise. And if you put into consideration the fact that Edolites are particular about this election, the expected large turnout of people willing to register so that they can cast their votes can only be imagined. We reckon that they would be in hundreds of thousands. We therefore demand that the INEC tells the world why it has not started the process that cannot go beyond June 21.

“We are not given to speculations nor do we take rumour mongers seriously. However, it is being alleged that a grand conspiracy is being hatched to disenfranchise all would-be voters who would have gladly joined many other voters to choose their governor come September 21. We challenge the INEC to come clean on this. As we speak today, there is nothing on ground to suggest that Edo State has a National Electoral Commissioner, nothing. It is appalling, that on INEC website, you can only find Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states which have had their elections as the only states where potential voters can transfer to, nothing like Edo or Ondo. We are calling on the general public to urge INEC to do the needful now before it is too late,” the group stated.

Just a week ago, a coalition of civil society organizations, under the aegis of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOS) had raised the alarm over alleged plans to deny Edolites voting rights by Prof. Yakubu Mahmood-led INEC.

Speaking at an emergency press conference held at the CONGOs Secretariat in Benin City last Friday, the President of the organization, Comrade Abiola Daisy Igaga, accused the electoral umpire of flouting the provisions of the Electoral Act by not allowing potential voters to register so as to enable them to vote in the fast approaching election.

According to Comrade Igaga, the press conference was organized to draw the attention of INEC and the general public to INEC’s disregard of Electoral Act 2022 as amended; and to the constitutionality of the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise towards ensuring that people are not unjustly disenfranchised. “This is very important if the election is to be seen as inclusive and credible,” Comrade Igaga added.

Comrade Igaga stated that with the elections scheduled for September 21st, it was worrying that INEC had not commenced the CVR exercise in Edo State despite clear provisions of the Electoral Law – specifically Section 10.1 of the electoral act – which states that “…there SHALL be continuous registration of all persons qualified to be registered voters.”

She therefore called on INEC to immediately obey the law, especially as a combined reading of Section 10.1 with Section 9.6 which states that CVR should end 90 days before an election means that INEC must conclude the exercise on or before the 21st of June, 2024.

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