• Friday, July 19, 2024
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No plans to postpone 2023 elections – INEC

James Kwen

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone postpone the 2023 general election.

Yakubu stated this at the presentation of an electronic copy of the 93,469,008 voter register to leaders of political parties on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that more than ever before the commission was more prepared for the 2023 general elections and had now successfully implemented 11 out of the 14 activities on schedule for the elections.

“Already, 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. 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.

Read also: INEC tasks journalists on peaceful election

He added that 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.

“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 hold on Saturday February 25, 2023, while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday, March 11, 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 hold as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the commission.’’

On the register voter, Yakubu said after the cleaning up of the data from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) from June 2021 to July 2022, where 9,518,188 new voters were added to the exiting 84,004,084 voters, the preliminary register voters was 93,522,272.

He said that when the register was presented to Nigerians for claims and objections as required by law, INEC received 53,264 objections from Nigerians to the prevalence of ineligible persons on the register by virtue of age, citizenship or death, which were 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 per cent) are male while 44,414,846 (47.5 per cent) are female.

“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 percent) 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 per cent ) Farmers/Fishermen and 13,006,939 (13.9 per cent) 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 percent) persons with Albinism; 13,387 (15.7 per cent) with physical impediment and 8,103 (9.5 percent) are blind.”

Yakubu said that the softcopy of the breakdown and analysis would be uploaded to INEC website and social media platforms shortly.

He reiterated INEC commitment to transparent, credible and inclusive 2023 general election, saying INEC would continue to take every step to protect the sanctity of the votes cast by citizens and to deal with infractions.

On the collection of PVCs at 8,809 registration areas nationwide, Yakubu said that locations for collection could be identified by sending a short text message to any of the two dedicated telephone lines.

In his response IPAC chairman, Yabagi Sani commended INEC efforts in ensuring that power is peacefully transferred in the country; in spite of the challenges and plots by anti-democratic agents to truncate the process.

Sani, who was represented by IPAC general- secretary, Yusuf Dantalle, said that political parties were resolved to support INEC, security agencies and traditional rulers for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election.