The names of three former governors who died years back are listed on the Independent National Electoral Commission register for the 2019 general elections, investigations by The PUNCH have revealed.
They are Diepreye Alamieyeseigha (Bayelsa State), Isiaka Adeleke (Osun State) and Patrick Yakowa (Kaduna State).
While Yakowa died in December 2012, Alamieyeseigha and Adeleke died in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
Also on the voter list are the names of the late former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme and the late former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who once headed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control. She died on June 7, 2014.
Ekwueme, with Voter Identification Number 90F5B09017295702736, was registered to vote at KDT Ezioko 1 in Anambra State.
Alamieyeseigha, with Voter Identification Number 90F54AF9CA1295190857, was registered to vote at Agbesi Open Space polling unit, Bayelsa State.
Our correspondent, who examined INEC’s register on Monday, observed that the late Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr James Ocholi (SAN), was still on the voter register. Ocholi died in a road accident with his wife and son on March 6, 2016.
The name of the late former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, was also on the voter register. Anenih died on October 28, 2018.
However, it was observed that the name of a former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, who died in 2015, had been removed from the voter register. The name of the late founder of the Odua Peoples Congress, Dr Frederick Fasehun, had also been removed.
INEC in February approached the National Population Commission asking the body to provide a list of dead persons from 2015 till date in order to remove their names from the voter register.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had said, “The National Population Commission is the registrar of births and deaths nationwide and INEC is responsible for voter registration as well as the cleaning up of the voter register by removing the names of dead persons from the same register.
“We would like to partner the population commission to make available to INEC all records of deaths since 2015 so that INEC can take the necessary steps to remove them from the voter register.
“We are confident that you will oblige us so that we can further clean up our voter register ahead of the 2019 general elections.”
However, 10 months after, it was learnt that the population commission had not been able to help INEC.
A senior official of the NPC told our correspondent that less than 10 per cent of the statistics was available.
He revealed that out of the 36 states, the NPC had only been able to provide INEC with the data of three states –Kaduna, Kano and Kebbi.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “We have three major problems. The first is that we don’t have enough funds. Our budget for the year is about N4bn but only N800m has been released to us and this is December. We don’t have the money to procure machines for the 774 local government areas to register births and deaths.
“Secondly, Nigerians have a bad habit of not reporting deaths to us, especially in the Muslim-dominated areas where dead persons are buried almost immediately. The only time people come to get Form D1 (death certificate) is for court purposes or other official matters.
“Even the data we gave INEC on Kano, Kebbi and Kaduna states cannot be accurate because in Kebbi for instance, only four deaths were recorded. Of course, more than four people have died in Kebbi since 2015.
Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, the INEC Director for Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the commission would remove the names of dead persons, illegal aliens and underage persons from the voter register to make it more accurate.
He said the aim of INEC was to destroy the Permanent Voter Cards of dead persons.
Osaze-Uzzi, however, said there was no cause for alarm as no one could use the PVC of another Nigerian due to INEC’s biometric data security.
He said INEC was not relying solely on the NPC but on other sources including the public.
He added, “We are not depending only on the population commission. We only approached them because this is their statutory responsibility. But it is just one source. We also do claims and objections and in this process, members of the community identify the names of dead persons on the register.
“Some notable persons who are dead have also been removed by us. We will publish the voter register for all to see.”
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