BARRING any last minute changes, the much expected registration of voters for the 2011 polls will begin across the country on October 24. The exercise will hold in each of the 120,000 polling units of the country.
Speaking on the fresh voters' compilation yesterday in Lagos, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Lagos Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, said the exercise would last for two weeks between the last week of October and the first week of November, 2010.
Ogunmola spoke during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, led by Justice Fatai Adeyinka, yesterday.
In Lagos, the REC said 8,465 registration machines would be deployed to the 8645 polling units to manned by 25,395 personnel at the rate of three persons per polling booth.
Asked if two weeks would be adequate to register about 70 million voters in the country, Ogunmola nodded positively because unlike in the last exercise where registration machines were rotated among two to four polling units, every polling booth would have a Direct Data Capturing machine, DDC this time.
To smoothen the exercise, he hoped that the government would take the working class into consideration by declaring a public holiday to enable them register.
During the visit, LASIEC and INEC leaders promised to thicken their collaboration to ensure credible polls in Lagos.
Fatai Adeyinka said, for instance, that there was no reason both electoral bodies could not collaborate because they had been enjoying harmonious relations all the while.
Ogunmola recently said that LASIEC had no power to create additional wards and polling uinits as it was planning. He however, told Saturday Vanguard yesterday that LASIEC could delineate more wards and polling units for their administrative needs but such creations would not be recognised by the constitution until it was approved at the Federal level.
Ogunmola, who just resumed as Lagos REC, said he was impressed with what he saw in the hand-over notes regarding collaboration with LASIEC and would improve on it. A joint committee of the two bodies recently recommended that additional 4000 polling units should be created in Lagos and the recommendation is awaiting approval of the INEC headquarters.
To ensure credible polls in 2011, he urged the citizenry to partake actively in the electoral process, assuring that the commission would do its best to create a level-playing field for all.