The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday announced the extension on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) to August 31 from August 17 it had earlier announced.

The commision also announced the registration of 23 new political parties, raising the number of registered parties in Nigeria to ninty-one.

A statement signed by Mohammed Haruna, INEC National Commissioner and Member, Voter Education and Publicity Committee in Abuja, said it decided to extend the exercise which commenced on April 27, 2017, by opening permanent registration centres in all 774 Local Government offices and 672 other centres.

It said the decision was to ensure that all year round, Nigerians who turned 18 years would have the opportunity to register.

“Consequently, the current CVR has been going on for 16 months. As at 11th August 2018, the Commission has registered an additional 12,139,061 new voters.”

It said that in order to have enough time to clean up the provisional register and print the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) in good time for the elections, it decided to suspend the exercise on August 17 to resume after the elections.

It, however, noted that many Nigerians had appealed for the extension of the exercise and as a result, the decision to extend the CVR to August 31 was taken.

“The exercise will continue in all the designated registration centres every day, including weekends, but excluding public holidays, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

On the new registered political parties, Haruna noted that the commission received 144 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.

The Commission said that it would issue Notice of Election for 2019 general elections on Friday, August 17, as “the first of 14 activities in the timetable in accordance with Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended)”.

The issuance of notice will kick-start the countdown to the 2019 general elections, which timetable was issued on Jan. 9, the Commission stated.

“After a rigorous process of evaluation in accordance with the Constitution and Electoral Act which included assessment of the constitutions and manifestos of the intending parties and verification of membership of their executive committees and offices, the 23 associations met all the requirements and so have been registered as political parties.

“This brings the number of political parties to 91 and will be the last round of registration of parties until after the general elections on 16 Feb. 2019.

“This suspension is in line with Section 78 (1) of the Electoral Act, which requires all applications for registration as political party to be concluded latest six months to a general election.”

The Commission added that the new parties would receive their Certificate of Registration on Thursday at its headquarters.

The new parties are Alternative Party of Nigeria (APN), Change Nigeria Party (CNP), Congress Of Patriots (COP), Liberation Movement (LM), Movement for Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD), Nigeria Community Movement Party (NCMP), Nigeria for Democracy (NFD) and Peoples Coalition Party (PCP).

Also registered were Advanced Alliance Party (AAP), Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP), African Action Congress (AAC), Alliance for a United Nigeria (AUN), We The People Nigeria (WTPN), YES Electorates Solidarity (YES), Youth Party (YP), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Alliance of Social Democrats (ASD), Alliance National Party (ANP) and Allied People’s Movement (APM), Reform and Advancement Party (RAP), Save Nigeria Congress (SNC), United Patriots (UP), United Peoples Congress (UPC).

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