The OurMumuDonDo Movement, on Tuesday, 13 February 2018, met with the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to discuss a myriad of electoral challenges currently beleaguering the electoral process. Representatives of the commission present at the meeting were National Electoral Commissioners Okechukwu Ibeanu, Muhammed Lecky, May Agbamuche-Mbu, Adekunle Ogunmola, and AT Mu’Azu. The NECs apologized for the absence of the Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, and extended his regret for missing the meeting.
The OurMumuDonDo Movement raised concerns about the torturous manner in which Nigerians have had to struggle for the registration and collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) across the nation. In detail, the movement expressed dissatisfaction over:
A. The inadequacy of Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) centers in almost every state of the country; the issue of underage voting during elections.
B. The rigid practice of placing constraints on voters who are unable to vote because they had to move from their point of registration to another location within the country.
C. The urgent need for the commission to implement the Electronic Collation and Transfer of Election Results initiative as a way of eradicating rigging and irregularities during an election.
D. The urgent need to address the falling number of voters every election year despite the annual rise in number of registered voters.
E. The exigency of developing strategies to dowse the security threats and violence which characterizes elections in different parts of Nigeria.
Further to the movement’s observations on the conspicuous challenges beleaguering the electoral process, the movement proffered probable solutions which it strongly hopes that INEC would consider as days unfold.
According to the representatives of the Commision, the concerns raised by the movement are majorly the concerns of the Commision as well. And as a result, the discussion was centered around proffering solutions to the myriads of problems identified.
Important to note, that the representatives of the Commision mentioned the following as some of the steps that INEC has taken so far to mitigate the challenges, and to also eradicate them in the long run;
1. That in response to the complaints of Nigerians on the dearth of CVR centers in the country, the Commision has increased the numbers of CVR centers across the nation from 774 Local Government Areas to 1446 CVR centers.
2. That the Commision has registered 4Million Nigerians since it started the CVR exercise in April 2017.
3. That the commission will begin to distribute in batches the Permanent Voters Card of Nigerians who registered between April 2017 and now, starting from May 2018.
4. That there are 8.30Million uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the custody of the commission.
5. That Nigerians can transfer their residence from the place of registration to wherever they relocate within the country.
6. That the commission is currently under-budgeted-for and underfunded by the National Assembly.
7. That the commission is faced with huge technical challenges, financial challenges, and manpower challenges.
8. That the commission completely frowns against underage voting and that it is committed to ensuring that defaulters are punished according to law.
9. That the commission is under-equipped and ill-equipped.
10. The representatives of the Commision encouraged Nigerians to report irregularities observed before, during, and after elections to the commission so as to ensure that such irregularities are addressed in the most stringent way possible and also take proactive measures to avoid reoccurrence.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the commission expressed deep concerns over electoral violence and the empowerment of thugs by desperate and unprincipled politicians. The commission, however, promised that it will ensure that proactive measures are taken to forestall electoral challenges and that it will ensure that all necessary and possible steps are taken to make the process of participating in the electoral process less-wearying for Nigerians.
The meeting ended with a sincere message of appreciation from the OurMumuDonDo Movement to the commission for honoring the request of the group to engage the commission, in less than 24 hours. Certainly, more engagements will be done in the coming days between both parties to appraise previous efforts and strategize on proactive measures to eradicate electoral problems, and also devise more impactful ways to achieve free, fair, and credible elections in the country.
National Publicity Secretary OurMumuDonDo Movement