By Wahab Akanji, Abuja
The Presidency on Friday denied news reports making the rounds suggesting that it has ordered that voters in 2019 election would need to show their national identity cards before casting their ballots.
A statement issued by Mr. Laolu Akande who is the media aide to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has never made such orders.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the President has made no such order and the Vice President’s speech (delivered yesterday by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye at the Policy Roundtable on Identity Eco-System in the country, which the report used to make such erroneous claims), certainly made no mention of the 2019 elections at all.” Akande wrote.
Setting the records straight, Akande added that “What the speech said was that the President has taken an initiative to harmonize identity management in the country so as to ensure that every Nigerian has a unique identifier.
“And in the same vein, the speech added that it is the “President’s charge that the national identification number number, (NIN) is used to authenticate eligible voters in the near future, as well as in the areas of access to health insurance, registration of SIM cards, access to social welfare, financial transactions, etc.”
He went further to state that “What this means is that such a unique identifier as the NIN can, when eventually issued, help to confirm age and nationality status of eligible voters, for instance. Or even help determine eligibility of persons presenting themselves for health, social welfare, financial and other available services in the country.
“The President was not giving any directive to INEC or any order regarding 2019. Mr. President and this administration fully respect the autonomy of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) and also very determined to preserve the integrity of the electoral process at all times.”