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2023 Elections: INEC Airlifts Sensitive Materials

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC said that it has commenced the airlift of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to states for the February/March general election.

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu stated this while presenting the register of voters to chairmen and secretaries of Nigeria’s 18 registered political parties on Wednesday in Abuja.

This came a few days after it expressed fears about the wave of general insecurity across the country.

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Yakubu noted that with just 44 days to the General Election, and with the presentation of the register of voters to political parties, the Commission has now successfully implemented 11 out of the 14 activities on the timetable and schedule for the polls.

He said:

Therefore, the Commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the General Election.”

He stated the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023.

INEC boss said:

The repeated assurances 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 hold as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the Commission.

“As a further affirmation of the Commission’s readiness to conduct the 2023 General Election as scheduled, the final register of voters has been compiled.

“You would recall that for the 2019 General Election, Nigeria had a voter population of 84,004,084. After the cleaning up of the data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise (June 2021 – 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.

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 Election stands at 93,469,008. Of this cumulative figure, 49,054,162 (52.5%) are male while 44,414,846 (47.5%) are female. The distribution by age group shows that 37,060,399 (39.65%) are youth between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 (35.75%) are middle-aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49; 17,700,270 (18.94%) 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%) Farmers/Fishermen and 13,006,939 (13.9%) 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%) persons with Albinism; 13,387 (15.7%) with physical impediment and 8,103 (9.5%) are blind.”

The INEC boss added that already, substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country.

He explained that the last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS has been received while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology for elections would soon be completed.

He said:

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 Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have been printed, 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.

“I would like to reiterate our commitment to a transparent, credible and inclusive 2023 General Election. We will continue to take every step to protect the sanctity of the votes cast by citizens and to deal with infractions, including the arrest and prosecution of persons that attempt to perpetuate illegality at Polling Units on Election Day, be they underaged voters or vote buyers.

“Once again, the Commission appreciates the patience of Nigerians who have been queuing up at the designated centres to collect the PVCs. To make it easier, we devolved the collection to the 8,809 Registration Areas/Wards nationwide. We have also uploaded the comprehensive list of the Ward collection centres nationwide to our website. The locations can also be identified by sending a short text message to any of the two dedicated telephone lines. The details are also available on the Commission’s website.”

This came a few days after INEC raised fears about insecurity and its possible effect on the election.

Pre-election violence could precipitate a constitutional crisis by way of the forced cancellation of election results or outright postponement of polls.

However, Yakubu stated that the commission has been supported by assurances by Nigeria’s defence, security, and intelligence architecture that it would ensure a conducive environment for the polls.

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Written by Tapre Timine

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