The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has projected that registered voters in the country might increase by about 10 million to over 80 million by 2019.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, made the prediction at a roundtable organised by the European Union Electoral Follow-up Mission to Nigeria and West Africa, held in Abuja.
A statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, yesterday in Abuja, noted that the roundtable was also attended by Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders.
Yakubu speaking on the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) said that no fewer than 3.2 million Nigerians had been registered in addition to the 70 million captured voters for the 2015 general elections.
According to him, the credibility of election depends on the reliability of the Voter Register. “We are now doing it continuously. We have seen some challenges and we are responding to them.
“We started in April and as at last week, we have registered 3.2 million Nigerians on top of the 70 million registered voters for the 2015 general elections that we had before.
“Our projection is that the Voter Register will probably be over 80 million by 2019,” Yakubu said.
He also revealed that about eight million Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were yet to be collected by their respective owners.
“We haven’t made much progress in the last two years, but we have made elaborate arrangements with the states to ensure that the cards are collected.”
Giving a summary of the Commission’s preparations towards the 2019 general elections, Yakubu said that INEC would come up with a figure of the cost for 2019 general elections hopefully by next week.
According to the chairman, the commission have a Strategic Plan 2017 – 2021 and a Strategic Programme of Action.
Yakubu said that as at today, INEC had conducted elections into 172 constituencies since the 2015 general elections.
“The last election was three weeks ago in Gombe, the next election will come up in eight days time in Sokoto, followed by the Anambra governorship elections.
“We have issued the timetable for Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.”
Yakubu said that in Bayelsa in January 2016, INEC combined accreditation and voting simultaneously, adding that it was well received and has been going on very well.
Also speaking on the Nov. 18, Anambra governorship election, Yakubu reinstated that the governorship election would be combined with the Idemili North state constituency election.
According to him, all arrangements – logistics, staff training, and security are already in place, while nine out of the 14 activities lined up for the governorship poll had executed.
On expressed fears that the security agencies could postpone the election at the last minute, the INEC Chairman observed that the responsibility of securing the environment before, during and after elections was not within the Commission’s jurisdiction.
He said be that at it may INEC would continue to maintains a close relationship with all security agencies through the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES).
Yakubu added that was why the commission had also decided to issue the timetable and schedule of activities well ahead of all elections.