Nigerians have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission not to make the National Identity Number one of the conditions for registering voters when the exercise begins in a few weeks.
It had been reported on Wednesday that INEC was considering the move in a bid to ‘harmonise all databases.”
This was disclosed by an INEC national commissioner, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak.
The INEC official explained that the permanent voter card was only supposed to be in use for a maximum of 10 years, adding that most countries rely on a national database and not the Permanent Voter Card for voting.
He said, “The NIN is the ideal. When we want to begin the continuous voter registration, we may consider it because ordinarily, a national identity card is what should be used for voting. When the PVC was introduced, it was meant to be in use for 10 years and the assumption was that within those 10 years, the national identity card would be in use by a majority of Nigerians.
“I can tell you that the NIN will be one of the preconditions for registration when the CVR starts. We are trying to harmonise all databases.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Nick Dazang, said he could not say for sure if the NIN would be a precondition for registration, adding that meetings were still ongoing. He said once a final decision had been made, INEC would officially inform Nigerians.
However, Nigerians do not want NIN to be made one of the prerequisites for voter registration.
In a poll conducted on PUNCH’s social media pages, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, Nigerians voted against the idea by 53.5 %, 60 % and 57.3 per cent respectively.
On Facebook, where 963 persons voted, 515 voted ‘No’ to the question; Should INEC make NIN compulsory for voter registration? 448 respondents supported the move.
On Instagram, the margin of respondents who voted against the idea went up to 60 per cent, while 40 per cent supported the idea.
The same pattern was repeated by Twitter respondents, where 57.3 per cent voted against the idea and 42.7 said yes to making NIN compulsory for voter registration.
Some of the respondents also shared reasons for their decision.
A Twitter user, Lanre Adeyemi said, “If they are switching to E-voting then NIN can help much.”
Nwanneka said making NIN compulsory will not make the electoral process credible.
A Facebook respondent, Stanley Onovo said, I say yes because there is ample time. However, I don’t think an easy conclusion can be reached. NIN can help in preventing voter fraud but before it will be done, the provisions have to be set out in order to inform the public.”
Akinola Boluwatife brought another perspective to the conversation as he said, “Except the government is making things go easy for those planning to register because getting NIN is hell on its own now talk about combining both.”