A national commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, disclosed that the commission is considering making the National Identity Number (NIN) a precondition for registering voters when the continuous voter registration exercise commences in a few weeks.
The INEC commissioner said that the NIN would help tackle challenges of underage voting, alien voting and other challenges associated with registration.
The INEC official, who pleaded anonymity, 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.
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.
Meanwhile, Nick Dazang, INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, said he could not say for sure if the NIN would be a precondition for registration, adding that meetings were still ongoing.
He said Nigerians would officially be informed once a final decision had been made.
Asked if the NIN would be made compulsory for new registrants, Dazang said:
When we reach the bridge, we will cross it. For now, we have not announced the date for the registration exercise to begin and the conditionality. When we are ready, the commission will announce the procedure for the continuous voter registration so the commission has not taken a decision in respect of that.
The INEC director said the commission was also looking at how to ensure that the registration is done amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
INEC has not registered any Nigerian in over two years, a development which civil society groups have criticised.