Nigeria’s electoral commission, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it is making preparations for about 95million voters in the 2023 general elections. The Commission also said that it plans for 1,520 seats but warns that the increasing level of insecurity in some parts of the country poses a threat to the elections. The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, who made this known at a forum with members of the Nigeria Guild of Editors in Lagos on Friday, confirmed that the Commission already had 84 million voters now.
According to PUNCH, the INEC boss said, “For the 2023 general elections, INEC is making preparations for approximately 95 million voters. Yes, we have 84 million voters now; we have registered 12 million newly. None of the fresh registrants has been added to the register. We are cleaning up the register.
“A few days ago, some people said they discovered so many fictitious names on the register. When I heard that, I asked myself: ‘Which register?’ We have not even compiled it. We are cleaning up the data; so, how come that someone already knows the register, which is supposed to be compiled by the commission? It is a very serious matter for us, because it touches at the heart of credible elections.
“So, some of the people, out of mischief, are talking about what they don’t know. But let me assure Nigerians that no name from the recent Continuous Voter Registration has been added to the register of voters. The law requires us to clean up the data, which we are doing. Thereafter, Section 19, subsection 1 of the Electoral Act says we should throw the register open for Nigerians for claims and objections, so that the citizens can also help the commission to clean the register further.
“This will be done for at least one week in all the 8,809 wards in the 774 local councils in the country. We haven’t done so yet, but we will do that so that Nigerians will have the opportunity to look at the new registrants before we add them to the new register. So, there is no new register as such; we are still in the process of cleaning up.”
Speaking on the collection of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), Yakubu noted that there had been a challenge with the collection of PVCs, adding that the commission had a meeting with all its resident electoral commissioners and administrative secretaries in Lagos in the week to map out strategies on how to ensure a hitch-free distribution of the PVCs.
“We really want to make it a pleasant experience for citizens. For the new registration exercise, we collected data, including email addresses and telephone numbers for those that have, including those in rural areas. We will reach them either by means of text messages, emails or voice calls to tell them the specific locations where they can pick up their cards.
“We will also activate the portal for the collection of the PVCs. So, those who are savvy can click and know where to collect their PVCs. We are ready to make it a pleasant experience for the citizens,” he said.