The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday announced additional 9,518,188 eligible registrants in the national register of voters that will be used for this year’s general elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this in Abuja during a meeting with the leadership of the nation’s 18 registered political parties, where the new register was formally presented to them.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that while the presidential and National Assembly elections will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023; the governorship elections in 28 states for all state assemblies will be held on Saturday March 11, 2023.
Removes 53,264 from register
The INEC boss added that for the 2019 general elections, Nigeria had a voter population of 84,004,084, and that after the cleaning up of the data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise (June, 2021 to July, 2022); 9,518,188 new voters were added to the previous register, resulting in the preliminary register of 93,522,272 which was presented to Nigerians for claims and objections as required by law.
Yakubu said, “At the end of the period for claims and objections by citizens, the commission received 53,264 objections from Nigerians to the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register by virtue of age, citizenship or death. These names have been verified and removed from the register.
“Consequently, the register of voters for the 2023 general elections stands at 93,469,008. Of this cumulative figure, 49,054,162 (52.5 per cent) are males while 44,414,846 (47.5 per cent) are females.”
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He added that the distribution by age group showed that 37,060,399 (39.65 per cent) were youths between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 (35.75 per cent) were middle aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49; 17,700,270 (18.94 per cent) were elderly voters between the ages of 50 and 69, while 5,294,748 (5.66 per cent) were senior citizens aged 70 and above.
In terms of occupational distribution, the INEC boss said that students constituted the largest category with 26,027,481 (27.8 per cent) of all voters, followed by 14,742,554 (15.8 per cent) farmers/fishermen and 13,006,939 (13.9 per cent) housewives.
According to him, the data on disability was not collected for previous registrations, but that the cumulative figure of 85,362 persons from the recent CVR indicates that there are 21,150 (24.5 per cent) persons with albinism; 13,387 (15.7 per cent) with physical impediments and 8,103 (9.5 per cent) are blind.
Cleaning up the data
Yakubu had in April, 2022, said that the introduction of the biometric registration of voters in 2011 helped to sanitise the register.
According to him, initially 73,528,040 Nigerians were registered in 2011 and that using the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) the commission was able to remove 4,239,923 invalid registrations.
He said, “Unfortunately, the troubling issue of invalid registration still persists, which we detected while cleaning up the latest registration data. As against the AFIS used in previous exercises, the commission introduced the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), which is a more comprehensive and robust system involving not just fingerprint identification, but also facial biometric recognition.
“Sadly, it seems that many registrants, either out of ignorance that they do not need to re-register if they had done so before, or a belief that our systems will not detect this infraction, have gone out to register again.”
Yakubu further said both categories: failure of ABIS and incomplete data, constituted invalid registration, lamenting that nearly 45 per cent of completed registrations nationwide were invalid, rising to as high as 60 per cent or more in some states, and that this infraction happened in all the states of the federation.
Presenting the details of the register, INEC’s Director, Voter Registry, Engr Iro Gambo, said that the 1999 constitution (as amended) and Sections 9 to 23 of the Electoral Act 2022 empowered the commission to conduct the registration of persons qualified to vote and to prepare, maintain and revise the register of voters.
He said, “Section 10 (6) of the Electoral Act 2022 states that, ‘As soon as claims and objections have expired, the supplementary list shall be included in the revised register which shall be certified by the commission as the official register of voters for the purpose of any election conducted under this act and supersedes all previous registers’.
“The national register of voters used for the display exercise comprises the 2019 register of voters, post-2019 CVR exercise for the stand-alone governorship elections and area council elections (Anambra, FCT, Ekiti and Osun states) and the post-ABIS data from the just concluded nationwide 2021/22 CVR.”
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