Nigeria: The challenges of registering to vote

Photo source: DW

The electoral register in Africa’s most populous land now contains more than a record-breaking 84 million names. But Nigerians who want to vote need a lot of time and patience.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has three administrative building complexes in the capital Abuja. Everybody working there is very busy. 84 million Nigerians are called upon to elect a new president and parliament on February 16.

Preparations for the elections are an enormous logistical challenge. The number of registered voters is the highest ever. 774 districts will host almost 120,000 polling stations. All of them will have to be provided with material and personnel in time for election day. Jude Udo Ilo has serious doubts about the feasibility of this. “There are reasons to worry. For instance, one month before the election, the recruitment and training of the staff have not yet been completed,” the director of the regional chapter of the Open Society Initiative financed by the US billionaire George Soros, said. It is far from certain that the material will be shipped to the country in time to be thoroughly scrutinized for errors. “We are not very clear on how INEC is approaching all of that activity.”