At least 84.2 million Nigerians are registered to vote in the 2019 general elections, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahood Yakubu, said this at a regular meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja on Thursday.
According to Yakubu, 14.5 million Nigerians registered between April 27, 2017 when the Continuous Voter Registration began and August 31, 2018 when the exercise ended.
Added to the 69,720,350 persons that were registered in 2015, the total number of registered voters as of today stands at 84, 271,832.
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 cleaned up of the register aimed at detecting double registration and illegal registrants.
He also called on Nigerians to help the commission to weed out illicit registrants.
Yakubu added, “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.”
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 revealed that in addition to fresh registration, 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.
Yakubu added, “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.”
He said the collection of PVCs would continue until one week to the 2019 Presidential election.
While promising to ensure that the collection of PVC is made easy, the INEC boss said no PVCs would 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,” Yakubu said.
On the forthcoming Osun State governorship election, Yakubu said the commission would convene a meeting of the national Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security next week to review the security arrangement for the election.
He said INEC would introduce changes to the election-day administration of polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of sensitive materials.