EC roasts Minority Leader on new voters registration

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The Electoral Commission (EC) is denying certain claims made by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu.

The Minority Leader at a hurriedly organised press conference had sought to suggest that the EC didn’t understand data synchronization because the Commission had indicated during a meeting that it was not going to rely on the biometric data of citizens captured by the NIA. The meeting was between the Electoral Commission and the Special Budget Committee of Parliament of which the Minority Leader is a member.

But the EC in a statement signed by its Acting Director of Public Affairs, Sylvia Annoh, said “for the record, nowhere has the Commission stated that it intends to use the biometric data in NIA’s data base.”

“Indeed, the recently passed CI to guide the registration of voters, CI 126, does not include provisions to allow for the use of the biometric data of the NIA,” it added.

“What the CI states and which is what the Commission is seeking to do is to rely on the physical NIA card to prove a person’s citizenship as a precondition for registration,” it noted.

“Indeed, had the Minority Leader read the CI 126, it would have been obvious to him that the Commission was not seeking to synchronize its data with that of the NIA.”

“For the record, merely presenting one’s card to prove one’s citizenship does not require a direct relationship or collusion with the NIA as the Minority has sought to portray,” according to the statement.

“It is interesting that the same Minority which accused the EC of being in bed with the NIA to rig the election, would today turn around and propose data synchronization which would require the EC to work directly with the NIA and rely extensively on its biometric data in its data base.”

“Again, the Minority leader is on record to have stated that, the EC indicated at the meeting that it was going to phase out and reduce the polling stations by 6,780. For the records, the EC never made such a statement. What the EC said was that the 2020 registration would be in phases under a cluster system,” it said.

It added that “This means that the 33,367 registration centres will be divided into five. Each cluster would consist of 6,780 registration centres. Each cluster would be made up of 5 registration centres numbered 1-5. During the first phase at all the registration centres numbered 1 nationwide will register applicants for 6 days.”

“During the second phase all registration centres numbered 2, will register applicants for 6 days. This will go on until all the phases are covered. Thereafter, there will be a nationwide mop up exercise. At no point during the discussion did the EC state that it was phasing out or reducing the polling stations by 6,780. Indeed, the fact that our explanation of the cluster system and methodology for registration never raised an eyebrow during our discussions indicates clearly that the EC never made this statement.”

“We have no doubt that members of the Committee would have been in a state of uproar if indeed the EC had made such an assertion. It is difficult to imagine that Members of Parliament will gloss over this decision and not seek clarification from the Commission on a critical subject such as this. Phasing out and reducing the polling stations by 6,780 is not an issue to be taken lightly by anyone let alone our Members of Parliament,” the Commission stated.

From the civil and comprehensive discussions that took place at the meeting, the claims by the Minority Leader are unfortunate. The Commission wishes to thank the members of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament for their continued support and constructive feedback, it indicated.

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