The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the final list of registered voters for the 2023 general election.
In the list made available to political parties yesterday, Lagos State has the highest number of registered voters with 7,060,195, followed by Kano State with 5,921,370.
The list showed that INEC registered 93, 469,008 voters for the general polls.
The 93,469,008 registered Nigerians will decide who will become the next president of Nigeria among candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu; People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party, Peter Obi and candidates of other parties in the 2023 presidential election.
The voter register also shows that Katsina State has 3,516,719 registered voters; Kebbi, 2,032,041; Kogi, 1,932,654; Kwara, 1,695,927; Nasarawa 1,899,244; Niger, 2,698,344; Ogun, 2,688,305; Ondo, 1,991,344; Osun, 1,954,800; Oyo, 3,276,675; Plateau, 2,789,528; Rivers, 3,537,190; Sokoto, 2,172,056; Taraba, 2,022,374; Yobe, 1,485,146, and Zamfara State, 1,485,146.
Others are Abia 2,120,808; Adamawa, 2,196,566; Akwa Ibom, 2,357,418; Anambra, 2,656,437; Bauchi, 2,749,268; Bayelsa, 1,056,862; Benue 2,513,281; Borno, 2,513,281; Cross River, 1,766,466; Delta 3,221,697; Ebonyi, 1,597,646; Edo, 2,501,081; Ekiti, 987,647; Enugu, 2,112,793; FCT 1,570,307 Gombe, 1,575,794; Imo, 2,419,922; Jigawa, 2,351,298, and Kaduna, 4,335,208.
A breakdown of the number of eligible voters indicates that men constitute 52.5 per cent, while women make up 47.5 per cent of the total figure.
The nation’s electoral body disclosed that after the cleaning up of its data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise between June 2021 and 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.
However, at the end of the period for claims and objections by citizens, the commission said it received 53,264 objections from Nigerians to the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register by virtue of age, citizenship, or death.
INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this yesterday at the presentation of the national register of voters to political parties in Abuja.
Yakubu said the 53,264 names were being verified and removed from the register at the end of the clean-up of its data for claims and objections by citizens.
Consequently, the INEC chairman said the final list of registered voters stands at 93,469,008.
Of this cumulative figure, he said “49,054,162 (52.5 per cent) are male while 44,414,846 (47.5 per cent) are female.”
According to him, the distribution by age group shows that 37,060,399 (39.65 per cent) are youth between the ages of 18 and 34; 33,413,591 (35.75 per cent) are middle aged persons between the ages of 35 and 49; 17,700,270 (18.94 per cent) are elderly voters between the ages of 50 and 69, while 5,294,748 (5.66 per cent) are senior citizens aged 70 and above.
He said, “In terms of occupational distribution, students constitute 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.”
He recalled that for the 2019 general election, Nigeria had a voter population of 84,004,084.
Recalling that the data on disability was not collected for previous registration, he however said 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 impediment and 8,103 (9.5 per cent) are blind.
He said the soft copy of the complete register will be presented to each political party.
Yakubu continued: “It is organised by State, Local Government, Ward and Polling Unit. It is also the same register that will be used on Election Day. Hard copies of the breakdown of the register by States of the Federation and analysis by gender, age group, occupation and disability are enclosed in your folders for this meeting.
“The soft copy of the breakdown and analysis will be uploaded to our website and social media platforms shortly. 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.”
He also lauded the patience of Nigerians who have been queuing up at the designated centres to collect the PVCs.
To make it easier, he said the commission 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,” he said.
With just 44 days to the 2023 General Election, he reiterated that electioneering campaigns are in full swing following nomination of candidates for the 1,491 constituencies.
“As you are no doubt aware, the Presidential election as well as elections for 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 Federal Constituencies will be held on Saturday 25th February 2023.
“Two weeks later, governorship elections in 28 States of the Federation and all 993 State Assembly constituencies will be held on Saturday 11th March 2023,” he said.
He also lauded the chairmen and leaders of political parties for their sustained engagement with the commission in particular and Nigerians in general on critical electoral issues.
“I want to reassure you that working together, we will sustain the tradition of regular consultative meetings with political parties and other critical stakeholders,” he said.
He recalled that on February 26, 2022, the commission released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.
Since then, he said the commission has been relentlessly implementing the 14 step-by-step activities listed in the Timetable.
Already, he said substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country.
“The last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been received while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology in readiness for elections will soon be completed.
“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,” he said.
He further said 13,868,441 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.
Commission Recants On Election Cancellation, Postponement
In a dramatic volte face, the commission also recanted its earlier position that the 2023 general election, which is less than two months away, faces a serious threat of cancellation if the wave of insecurity in parts of the country fails to improve.
INEC stated that it was not contemplating any adjustment of the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the general election.
Yakubu said for the avoidance of doubt, the presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday February 25, 2023, while the governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday March 11, 2023.
The electoral body said any report to the contrary is not the official position of the commission.
Yakubu stated: “In short, at no time in the recent history of the Commission has so much of the forward planning and implementation been accomplished 44 days ahead of a general election.
“Therefore, the Commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the General Election. For the avoidance of doubt, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be held on Saturday 25th February 2023 while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023.
“The repeated assurance 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 be held as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the Commission.”
He added that a further affirmation of the Commission’s readiness to conduct the 2023 general election as scheduled, was the final register of voters which has been compiled.
NNPP Seeks Court Order On Candidates’ List
Meanwhile, the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) has called on the INEC to obey court order and replace candidates that left their party with their members’ list.
NNPP said it is not happy about the failure of INEC to upload and accept their candidates’ list submitted to them despite the court order.
The party however commended the electoral umpire under the leadership of Prof Mahmood Yakubu for its high sense of responsibility to the promotion of rule of law and commitment to conducting a credible election come February.
Addressing journalists at the party headquarters in Abuja yesterday, the national chairman of NNPP, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said INEC should continue to implement court rulings, which would be better for the country’s political system.
According to him, the case of about 80 National Assembly members who were substituted and the position of the court then was that even though INEC has its guidelines, the Electoral Act 2022 supersedes that in terms of timeliness and others.
Alkali said, “We had a separate case of the senatorial candidate who purchased our form, nominated and screened, and after the Primary election, they moved to another party, such as the case of Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano and Joel Akanwa from Taraba State and also Yobe State Deputy governor.
“Shekarau wrote a formal letter to INEC telling them that he has withdrawn from the race, while Joel Akanwa in Taraba State went to Court to swear an affidavit that he has left the party, and INEC said they are not dead they cannot be substituted.”
“130 House of Assembly members and I believe some deputy governors also and that is why we are asking the court to interpret the electoral act 2022 as amended,” he said.
Speaking further, Alkali urged the commission to obey the order expeditiously made by the court to further build up the confidence of the unflinching and unwavering commitment to conducting a free, fair, and credible election.
“We want to use this opportunity to assure Prof. Mahmood Yakubu of our confidence in him and his Commission to deliver a sound election that will stand the test of time. We, therefore, pledge our unflinching support for him and INEC,” INEC stated.