January 17, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, hinted that with available records on ground, the outcome of the 2023 general elections would be decided by the young people in Nigeria.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Tuesday, in his address at Chatham House, London.
The Commission has scheduled February 25 for the presidential and national assembly elections, while gubernatorial and state Assembly elections would hold on March 11.
Giving a breakdown of voter registration and collection of Permanent Voter Cards, Yakubu said there are currently 93.4 million registered voters in Nigeria out of which 37 million (39 per cent) are young people between the ages of 18 and 34.
“And then they’re closely followed by 33.4 million or 35.3 per cent middle-aged voters between the ages of 35 and 49.
“Put together, these two categories constitute 75.39 per cent of registered voters in Nigeria.
“So, actually, the 2023 election is the election of the young people because they have the numbers. Even the majority of the PVCs collected are collected by young people.
“So, out of the 93.4 million, 70.4 million registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 49,” Yakubu stated.
He reminded the audience that the collection of the PVCs would end on January 29, adding that “we have to end it because, before the election, we will publish number of PVCs collected on polling unit by polling unit basis nationwide,” adding that over 600,000 eligible voters collected their PVCs in Lagos alone within the last one month.
The INEC boss also decried the rising incidence of attacks on INEC’s facilities.
Noting that 50 facilities of the Commission had been attacked in four years, Prof Yakubu assured his audience that the 2023 elections would hold as planned, adding that INEC has strengthened security in partnership with security services.
He noted that the last attack on the Commission’s facilities happened last week Sunday but the Commission was able to respond quickly with the help of the military.
“In four years, 50 facilities (have been) attacked in various parts of the country. The implication of the attacks is that we have to rebuild facilities and replace materials. The commission and security agencies have increased their presence in some of these locations.
He said, “The last attack happened on Sunday last week but because of the cooperation between the military and the electoral commission, we were able to respond and the damage was limited to just a section of the building in a local government office.
“The commission has repeatedly called for concerted efforts to control and check these attacks and in December last year, the National Assembly held a public hearing on these attacks and we hope that authorities have these attacks under control and the response by the security agencies is more coordinated.
“But in spite of these attacks, we will rebuild facilities and replace damaged and lost items, the elections will hold.”