Why 2019 election may witness highest voter turnout in Nigeria

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An indication that the 2019 election may witness the highest voter turnout ever in Nigeria emerged on Thursday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed that 84.2 million Nigerians are registered to vote.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja, confirmed that 14.5 million Nigerians registered between April 27, 2017 when the Continuous Voter Registration began and August 31, 2018 when the exercise ended.

He said, “As you are aware, the commission concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week. For a period of 16 months, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory as envisaged by the Electoral Act.

“At the end of the exercise, a total of 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.”

The INEC boss, however, said the number of registered voters might drop after the clean up of the register aimed at detecting double registration and illegal registrants.

“Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System, 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,” he said.

The INEC chairman said after the register was cleaned up, the final figures would be published including the breakdown by state, gender, age and occupation.

He explained that the commission was also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-state transfer of Permanent Voter Cards as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost or damaged cards or cards with wrongly written names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law.

“This means that the commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 PVCs and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general elections. 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 or her PVC available for collection before the general elections.”

Yakubu said the collection of PVCs would continue until one week to the 2019 Presidential election.

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