By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed that it has registered over 14.5 million new voters ahead of the 2019 general election.
It also said that preparations towards the September 22, 2018 governorship poll in Osun State is on course.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this Thursday in Abuja at a regular meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), where he revealed that the commission was working on a multi-faceted approach to curb vote buying and other malpractices during the election.
Yakubu said: “On the preparation for the Osun State governorship election, all processes and activities are going according to our timetable and schedule of activities released almost a year ago.
“The last major activity was the presentation of the voters’ register to each of the 48 political parties fielding candidates in the election, giving detailed information of the distribution of the 1.6 million registered voters by local government areas, wards and polling units.
“We are working on a multi-faceted approach to the menace of vote buying and other sundry electoral malpractices. We will introduce changes to the election-day administration of our polling units, in addition to the electronic tracking of our sensitive materials.”
The INEC chairman stressed further that the commission had concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week, which lasted for 16 months, from 27th April, 2017 to 31st August, 2018.
Yakubu added: “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.
“Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the current figure represents about 21% 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 Sec. 12 of the Electoral Act.”
The chairman stressed that in addition to fresh registration, the commission was also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-state transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law.
“This means that the commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general election. 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/her PVC available for collection before the general election,” he said.
The chairman assured Nigerians that collection of PVCs would continue until one week to the 2019 general election.