As part of its reforms to ensure a credible 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has abolished the separate incident form.
The chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday while presenting the national voters register to leaders of the political parties.
He said the commission has “modified” the register of voters for the 2019 general elections accordingly.
“Consequently, the separate Incident Form used in previous elections which is only completed by the Presiding Officer without the involvement of the voter is now abolished,” he said.
The presentation of the register is the ninth out of 14 activities on INEC’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the elections.
“In fulfillment of this legal requirement, the Commission has made available to each political party a copy of the entire national register of voters.
“After the mandatory display of the register in all polling units nationwide for claims and objections from 6th- 12th November 2018, the final register for the 2019 General Elections stands at 84,004,084 voters,” he said.
This register presented is the same register that will be available at each polling unit nationwide on election day.
Noting the Commission has printed and delivered the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to the states for collection by registered voters, he urged all registered voters who have not collected their PVCs to approach any of the local government area offices and other designated collection centres nationwide to pick up the cards to enable them vote on election day.
“While we are encouraged by the response so far, millions of cards are still yet to be collected,” he said.
“I wish to reiterate that the Commission will not allow the collection of PVCs by proxy. Registered voters should endeavour to collect their cards personally without which no person can vote on election day.”
Mr Yakubu also re-emphasised the commission’s policy that the smart card reader will be used for the 2019 General Elections for accreditation of voters.
“For clarity, I wish to stress that the function of the Smart Card Reader during accreditation is to confirm, verify and authenticate the voter. First, it shall be used to confirm that the PVC is genuine and issued by INEC.
“If the fingerprint is not authenticated by the Card Reader but the PVC is confirmed as genuine and the voter’s personal details are consistent with the manual register, he/she shall be allowed to vote.”
In the case where the biometric authentication fails, he said the voter will be required to thumbprint a box next to his/her picture on the register and to enter his/her mobile telephone number before proceeding to vote.
The chairman also dismissed claims that the card reader has been enhanced to recapture voters’ fingerprints at polling units and automatically overwrite the biometric record on their database as untrue and should be disregarded.
The commission, therefore, asked leaders of political parties to start compiling the lists of their party agents for submission not later than 14 days to the election.
He also said soon the commission would schedule a Train-the-Trainer workshop for party agents.
“I urge you to nominate competent persons as master trainers capable of cascading the training to other party agents,” he said.
He promised that the commission would keep “very close watch on campaign finance.”
Mr Yakubu also said INEC has designed Campaign Finance Reporting Forms to ensure compliance with the reporting requirements by parties.
The EC16C is for annual finance reporting by parties, while the EC16D for income (including contributions and donations) and EC16E on party expenditure are already available on the Commission’s website.
“In particular, we shall closely monitor spending by parties and candidates as well as individual and group donations to campaign organisations.”
He reassured political parties that there is no change in the number of polling units and voting points used for the 2015 General Elections and the 2016 Area Council elections in the FCT.
The commission said it is committed and making several efforts to address the worrisome issue of vote buying despite the introduction of new tricks.
“We want to reassure Nigerians that we are aware of the new tricks. It is a futile effort. We will work with the security agencies to deal with the violators of our electoral laws, including those who may be trying to compromise our staff responsible for making the PVCs available for collection by legitimate voters.”