84.2m Voters To Decide Buhari’s Fate

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No fewer than 84.271 million Nigerians would participate in next year’s polls across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed.

It has also concluded plans to electronically tag sensitive materials for the 2019 general election.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed these during a quarterly meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, yesterday, where he added that 14.551 million new voters were registered.

He said though the figure might drop slightly after running the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the current figure represents about 21 per cent increase on the existing register.

“As you are aware, the commission concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week.

“For 16 months, from April 27, 2017 to August 31, 2018, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as envisaged by the Electoral Act (amended.)

“At the end of the exercise, 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832.

“Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the current figure represents about 21 per cent increase on the existing register.

“On this note, let me also appeal to Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing nationwide display of the particulars of new voters for claims and objections as required by law.

“By doing so, citizens will be helping the commission to further clean up the register and purge it of all ineligible registrants as required by section 12 of the Electoral Act.

“The commission has consistently shared information on the voter registration exercise with Nigerians by publishing the figures as well as detailed breakdown by states and gender.

“Furthermore, the commission is convening a meeting of the national Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), next week, to review the security arrangement for the election.

“We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote-buying and other sundry electoral malpractices.

“We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials. We are discussing with the security agencies on a more vigorous enforcement of the law against voter-inducement. We are working with the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and other stakeholders on voter education and sensitisation.

“After running the AFIS, the Commission shall present a detailed analysis of the voter register, not only by state and gender, but also, by age group and occupation.

“In addition to fresh registration, the Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-state transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law.

“This means that the Commission has to print 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general election. Already, the Commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to states for collection.

“I can also confirm that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the states next week. We wish to reassure Nigerians that every registered voter will have his/her PVC available for collection before the general election.

“The collection of PVCs will continue until one week to the 2019 general election. We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens. We will also ensure that information about the collection of PVCs is widely disseminated.

“Already, we are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs.

“We, however, wish to restate the Commission’s policy that no PVC will be collected by proxy. Registered voters must endeavour to collect their cards personally. We are working hard to ensure that no PVC goes into the wrong hands,” he said.

On preparations for the Osun State governorship election which holds on September 22, Yakubu said: “All processes and activities are going according to our timetable and schedule of activities released almost a year ago. The last major activity was the presentation of the voters’ register to each of the 48 political parties fielding candidates in the election, giving detailed information of the distribution of the 1.6 million registered voters by local government areas, wards and polling units…

“This is the third election we are conducting in Osun State since the 2015 general election. The first was the Ife Central State Constituency and the Osun West senatorial district. We wish to reassure the people of Osun State that their votes will continue to count,” he added.