Voters’ Registration: Disturbing Signs from the North

The voters’ registration and revalidation exercise is currently going on across the country, with the various state governments adopting measures to ensure that the masses participate fully in the exercise. In Anambra State, last Monday and Tuesday were declared public holidays by the state government to enable workers to be part of the registration.
While members of the public seem to be complying with the directive of the Anambra State Government, just as similar scenarios are believed to be going on elsewhere, feelers emanating from the northern part of the country give cause for worry.
Reports from the social media have it that large numbers of under-aged children, otherwise known as minors, are being registered in parts of the north. Pictures where they lined up to be registered were also shown.
Although not everything seen in the social media is authentic, recent past experiences in the country concerning this very exercise, have taught Nigerians not to dismiss such reports with a wave of the hand.
In the last presidential election, votes cast in two northern states were enough to give one of the candidates victory, a development that vindicated earlier reports of over registration and malpractices in those areas.
Now that similar reports are emanating from the north again, even with pictures, the appropriate authorities, in this case, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should move in and conduct a thorough investigation into the matter if it wants to make a success of the exercise and gain the confidence of the generality of Nigerians.
It is especially important to do this since numbers obtained from this exercise may come in handy during the census. Allowing this will therefore mean giving an unmerited advantage to sections of the country. This is one sure way of enthroning confusion and messing up the exercise.
We call on INEC to, as a matter of urgency, investigate this and also come up with a fool proof plan to guard against such malpractices, while ensuring that defaulting states and individuals are appropriately sanctioned.
In the meantime, we urge members of the public in Anambra State to endeavour to register, if they have not, as their voters card confers on them the power to choose their leaders, as mistakes made now, may be regretted later.