Without any travesty, the administrative and political tensions surrounding the 2019 general elections are manifest threats to free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
In the presence of contentious accusations of rigging – flying from both sides of the political divide – coupled with the abrupt ‘logistic’ failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), we are deeply worried about the secrecy in which the major data that can safeguard the elections from possible manipulations is being confined.
According to the electoral commission, there are 84 million registered voters for the general elections. However, questions from both local and international observers remain: What is the total number of collected voters cards across the country?
It is instructive that, “84 million registered voters” is vague and susceptible to manipulation the very moment Nigerians are barred from the actual data of collected PVCs. Fifty-two million as of February 17, 2015, this data was published – regular updates in fact – in the last elections. The hesitation today by INEC to do the needful casts immense doubts around its integrity, therefore, the credibility of the upcoming elections.
We’re calling, once again, on INEC to publish immediately the total number of voters cards collected in all states. In the pursuance of fair elections, this is the right thing. Nigerians should, amidst many uncertainties, have data of expected votes.