January 12, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured Nigerians that the 2023 general elections will be held as scheduled.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the assurances, said INEC is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone postpone the election.
Yakubu made this known on Wednesday, during the presentation of the electronic copy of the 93,469,008 voter register to leaders of political parties on Wednesday, in Abuja.
Yakubu said the commission was more prepared for the 2023 general elections and had now successfully implemented 11 out of the 14 activities on schedule for the elections.
“Already, substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country.
“The last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been received, while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology in readiness for elections will soon be completed. In the last two days, we commenced the airlifting of other sensitive materials to States across the country.
“Already, some of the materials for 17 States in three geo-political zones have been delivered. Furthermore, 13,868,441 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have been printed, and delivered to States and are being collected by citizens as new voters or by existing voters who applied for transfer or replacement of cards as provided by law.
“Similarly, following the display of the voters’ register nationwide and the conclusion of claims and objections by citizens, a new national register of voters has been compiled.
“In short, at no time in the recent history of the Commission has so much of the forward planning and implementation been accomplished 44 days ahead of a General Election.
“Therefore, the commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the General Election.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday, March 11, 2023.
“The repeated assurance by the security agencies for the adequate protection of our personnel, materials and processes also reinforces our determination to proceed.
“The 2023 General Election will be held as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the Commission”, he said.
On the registered voters, Yakubu said after the cleaning up of the data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) from June 2021 to July 2022, where 9,518,188 new voters were added to the existing 84,004,084 voters, the number of preliminary registered voters was 93,522,272.
He explained that when the register was displayed for claims and objections as required by law, INEC received 53,264 objections from Nigerians to the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register by virtue of age, citizenship or death, which were verified and removed from the register.
“Consequently, the register of voters for the 2023 General Election stands at 93,469,008. Of this cumulative figure, 49,054,162 (52.5 percent) are male while 44,414,846 (47.5 percent) are female.
“The distribution by age group shows that 37,060,399 (39.65 percent ) are youth between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 (35.75 percent) are middle-aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49;
“17,700,270 (18.94 percent ) are elderly voters between the ages of 50 and 69 while 5,294,748 (5.66%) are senior citizens aged 70 and above.
“In terms of occupational distribution, students constitute the largest category with 26,027,481 (27.8%) of all voters, followed by 14,742,554 (15.8 percent ) Farmers/Fishermen and 13,006,939 (13.9 percent) housewives.
“The data on disability was not collected for previous registration. However, the cumulative figure of 85,362 persons from the recent CVR indicates that there are 21,150 (24.5 percent ) persons with Albinism; 13,387 (15.7 percent ) with physical impediment and 8,103 (9.5 percent) are blind.”
Lagos has the highest number of voters with 7,060,195, followed by Kano State with 5,921,370 and Kaduna with 4,335,208 registered voters.
Ekiti State has the least registered voters with 987,647, followed by Bayelsa with 1,056,862 and Yobe with 1,485,146 registered voters.
Yakubu said the softcopy of the breakdown and analysis would be uploaded to INEC website and social media platforms shortly.
Reiterating INEC’s commitment to a transparent, credible and inclusive 2023 general elections, Yakubu said INEC would continue to take every step to protect the sanctity of the votes cast by citizens and to deal with infractions.
This, he said, includes the arrest and prosecution of persons that attempt to perpetuate illegality at Polling Units on Election Day, be they underaged voters or vote buyers.
On the collection of PVCs at 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards nationwide, Yakubu said that locations for collection could be identified by sending a short text message to any of the two dedicated telephone lines.