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INEC bows to pressure, extends voters registration by 2 weeks

…Political parties now 91 as INEC registers 21 new groups
Ahead of the August 17 deadline for registration of voters, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, bowed to pressure from millions of Nigerians who are grappling with registration hassles by extending the exercise by two weeks.

The development is accommodate more voters desirous of getting registered in the ongoing exercise prelude to next year’s polls.

A credible source in INEC’s Directorate of Voters Education and Publicity (VEP) confirmed the extension.

The commission also gave approval to 23 political associations, seeking registration as political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections

The approval of the new parties was announced in Abuja by the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who said the parties were given the go ahead, having satisfied the constitutional requirements and scaling the Commission’s registration hurdles.

This approval brings to 91, the number of registered political parties in the country.

National chairmen and national secretaries of the 23 newly-registered parties are to receive their respective certificates of registration at an event scheduled to hold today at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the leadership of INEC is expected to meet today with the joint committee of the National Assembly on INEC in furtherance of getting legislative approval for the 2019 elections funding.

The botched reconvening of the National Assembly for the same purpose notwithstanding, the joint committee had scheduled a late evening meeting with INEC on Tuesday but was rescheduled for today.

This is in accordance with the request by the leadership of the two chambers proposing a meeting between the Joint Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters and officials of the INEC to ascertain the immediate financial needs of the commission for the conduct of next year’s polls.

The outcome of this meeting, The Daily Times gathered, will guide the joint committees in its meeting with the joint Senate and House Committees on Appropriations, Loans and Debts on the Eurobond loan request after which two reports would have been ready for presentation in the two chambers.

The leadership of the National Assembly had stated on Tuesday that “until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess”.

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