Supporters of Peter Obi, Labour Party presidential candidate, on Thursday held a protest in Abuja against alleged underage voters, vote-buying plots, and discrepancies reported in the newly released register of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Dr. Yunusa Tanko, the Chief Spokesperson for the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, led the peaceful protest, which started from Unity Fountain and proceeded to the INEC headquarters.
Following the unveiling of the preliminary register of voters on its website ahead of the 2023 general elections, INEC came under heavy criticism over allegations of multiple registrations and discrepancies on the register.
This led to an outcry on social media, especially Twitter, where many screenshots of profiles of persons who had registered multiple times were posted.
In an effort to douse the tension, INEC’s Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, disclosed that the outrage was unnecessary as the preliminary voters’ register was actually released for people to study and raise objections where they discovered anomalies or biodata errors.
He said, “We want people to look at the register and assist the commission to check whether their names have been properly spelt; whether their personal particulars have been properly captured; whether some pictures are not upside down; whether there are still names of deceased persons on the register; whether there are obviously underage persons on the register so that we can correct them.”
INEC also disclosed on Thursday that it identified 2,780,756 ineligible registrants in Kano State at the end of the Automated Biometric Identification System.
The figure was disclosed by the new Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kano, Zango Abdu, during a meeting with members of election stakeholders.
Abdu further revealed at the end of the exercise that 12,298, 944 Nigerians successfully completed the registration as new voters.
Speaking with our correspondent on Thursday, Tanko told The PUNCH that the LP demonstration at the INEC head office became inevitable to allay the fear of rigging and imminent vote-buying ahead of the 2023 polls.
“The purpose was to protest the issue of underage voters and multiple registrations as widely reported and demand PVCs for those who have yet to be given,” he added.
While dismissing speculation that some demonstrators collapsed due to exhaustion, the LP campaign council spokesman described the outing as a ‘huge success.’