The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said not less than 95 million eligible voters would participate in the 2023 general elections and elect outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this at an event organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Yiaga Africa at the NED Headquarters, Washington DC.
Kaduna to examine new 10,000 teachers Oct 17
Senate slams FCTA over late submission of 2022 budget
Yakubu’s comments were made available to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday by his chief press secretary, Mr Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi.
According to the INEC boss, there are 15 countries, including Nigeria, in West Africa but that the total number of registered voters in the 14 countries combined is 73 million, while Nigeria has 95 million.
“There are 18 political parties in the race to produce the next president to be elected by 95m voters. We had over 84m registered voters in 2019. But with the last Continuous Registration of Voters (CVR), we are going to add at least 10m Nigerians and that will take the Register of Voters to 95m,” Yakubu said.
He said that with this development, there would be 22m more voters in Nigeria than in the whole of West Africa put together.
He, however, raised concerns about the rising insecurity across the country, saying the commission has its ‘fingers crossed’.
“We are keeping our eyes, particularly, on the North-West and the South-Eastern parts of the country. Elections are conducted by human beings.
“We worry about the security of our officials, materials, and even the voters themselves. Without them, elections could not be conducted. We, however, have spoken to the security agencies and they have assured us that the situation will improve before the elections. So, fingers crossed,” he said.
On the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), the INEC boss said what the commission has done is retire the old Smart Card Reader (SCR).
According to him, the SCR by definition reads the card, as each biometric card has a chip embedded and that in the SCR, there is the SAM card.
“The system of using the BVAS for the conduct of elections has come to stay. There’s no going back,” Yakubu said.