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Civil Society Coalition Decries Alleged Denial of Voter Rights in Edo, Demands Urgent Action from INEC

Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu, Reporting

Edo State, Nigeria

A coalition of civil society organizations, operating under the umbrella of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOS), has sounded the alarm regarding purported denial of voting rights to citizens of Edo State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by Prof. Yakubu Mahmood.

In an urgent press conference held in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, on Friday, President of the coalition, Comrade Abiola Daisy Igaga, leveled accusations against INEC for allegedly violating the provisions of the Electoral Act. Igaga asserted that potential voters were being prevented from registering to vote, thereby flouting the Electoral Act 2022.

The primary objective of the press conference, Igaga stated, was to draw attention to INEC’s non-compliance with the Electoral Act, as well as the constitutional obligations of the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise. The aim was to ensure that individuals were not unjustly disenfranchised, particularly with the gubernatorial election slated for September 21.

Expressing concerns over INEC’s delay in commencing the CVR exercise in Edo State, Igaga cited Section 10.1 of the Electoral Act, which mandates continuous registration of all eligible voters. Additionally, she emphasized Section 9.6, stipulating that the CVR should conclude 90 days prior to an election, necessitating the exercise’s completion by June 21, 2024.

“It is crucial for the upcoming election to be perceived as inclusive and credible,” Igaga emphasized.

The coalition called upon INEC to promptly adhere to the law, urging Chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to fulfill the promise of enhancing the electoral process. Igaga stressed that addressing the populace’s concerns and delivering free, credible, and inclusive elections rested squarely on INEC’s shoulders.

Furthermore, the coalition pledged collaboration with INEC to bolster voter education efforts and combat voter apathy. It demanded that INEC demonstrate good faith by promptly recommencing the CVR exercise in Edo State, highlighting its mandatory status under the law.

The coalition reiterated its commitment to ensuring electoral integrity and urged all stakeholders, including INEC, to prioritize the fundamental rights of citizens in the electoral process.



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