The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, announced that the voter register had swollen up to 93.5m.
Analysis of the preliminary register reveals that Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Katsina and Oyo states have the highest number of registered voters.
A breakdown indicates that Lagos has 7.57 per cent; Kano, 6.34 per cent; Kaduna, 4.65 per cent; Rivers, 3.77 per cent; Katsina, 3.76 per cent and Oyo 3.51 per cent.
Checks by The PUNCH indicate that voters in the six states constitute 27.68m or 29.59 per cent of the entire registered voters.
According to the preliminary voter register, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and Rivers states lead with 7,075,192; 5,927,565; 4,345,469 and 3,532,990, respectively.
They are followed by Katsina with 3,519,260 and Oyo, with 3,275,045.
Further analysis also revealed that the North-West geopolitical zone, which comprises the seven states of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Jigawa, with a total of 22.27m voters, has the highest number of registered voters.
As of the 2019 elections, the North-West had 20.15m voters. However, the data from INEC revealed that the zone got additional 2.12m voters during the recently-concluded continuous voter registration.
The South-West, which earlier had 16.29m voters as of 2019, now has 17.93m voters, having added a total of 1.64m newly-registered voters.
Following in third place is the South-South zone comprising Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states.
The number of registered voters in the zone has risen from 12.8m to 14.4m.
The North-Central, which is made up of Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger Kwara, and Plateau now has a total of 13.8m voters while the North- East which consists of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe added 1.07m new voters to reach 12.5m.
The South-East, which is the smallest geopolitical zone, and consists of five states — Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Imo now has a total of 10.9m voters while the Federal Capital Territory increased from 1.3m to 1.5m registered voters.
Lagos maintained its position as the state with the highest number of registered voters, increasing its figure from 6.5m to 7.07m.
Kano State also added 469,818 new voters to increase its number to 5.9m voters.
Kaduna now has 4.3m voters while Rivers state overtook Katsina as the fourth largest state in terms of voters.
While Rivers now has 3.53m voters, Katsina has 3.51m.
Ekiti State remained at the bottom with 986,314 registered voters.
Addressing the political parties during their meeting in Abuja, the INEC chairman noted that the majority of the new registrants were young people.
Speaking further, Yakubu stated, “In terms of demographic distribution, 7.2mn new voters or 76.5 per cent are young people between 18-34 years while there is a slightly higher number of female (4.8m or 50.82 per cent) than male (4.6m or 49.18 per cent) voters. In terms of occupation, 3.8m (40.8 per cent) are students.
“The 9,518,188 new voters have been added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters. The preliminary register of voters in Nigeria now stands at 93,522,272.’’
According to him, in compliance with sections, 19(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2022, the hard copies of the register of voters for each registration area and local government area would be displayed and simultaneously published on the commission’s website for two weeks for scrutiny, claims and objections by citizens not later than 90 days to the general election.
Further details, including the procedure for filing claims and objections, will be released by the commission next week, he added.
Yakubu said, “Accordingly, in the next few days, the Commission will print 9,352,228 pages of the register. The hard copy will be displayed for each of the 8,809 Registration Areas (wards) and 774 local government areas nationwide while the entire register will be published on our website for claims and objections as required by law.
“The display of the physical register will take place at the designated centres from Saturday, 12th – Friday, 25th November 2022. I would like to appeal to all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the display to scrutinize the list and help us to clean it up further so that the final register of voters for the 2023 General Election can be compiled and published.”
Yakubu disclosed that the cleanup of register the led to the discovery of 2,780,756 illegal registrants.
He added, “You may recall that the CVR, which started on 28th, June 2021 lasted for 13 consecutive months until its suspension on 31st July 2022. At the end of the exercise, 12,298,944 Nigerians successfully completed registration as new voters. All along, we have repeatedly assured Nigerians that our process of cleaning up the register is robust.
“After a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the Automated Biometric Identification System, a total of 2,780,756 (22.6 per cent) were identified as ineligible registrants and invalidated from the record, among them double/multiple registrants, under-aged persons and outright fake registrations that fail to meet our business rules. Consequently, the number of valid registrations (post-ABIS) is 9,518,188.”
Yakubu revealed that fictitious registrations were carried out by some registration officers involved in the field exercise, adding that in some cases, some of them made as many as 40 attempts or more to register one fake voter.
“As a result, the Commission has so far identified 23 registration officers involved in this unethical conduct and disciplinary action has commenced. We shall continue to protect the integrity of our voters’ register,’’ he promised.
The INEC boss also noted that the Commission was also working hard to ensure the completion of printing of remaining Permanent Voter Cards for new voters as well as those that applied to transfer or the replacement of their lost or damaged cards.
He also stated that “In the coming days, we will also inform Nigerians of the detailed plan to ensure a seamless collection of the PVCs. We are aware that Nigerians expect an improvement in the procedure for PVC collection. Since the end of the CVR in July this year, we have been working to ensure that citizens have a pleasant experience when they come to collect their cards.’’
He reminded his audience about the released timetable for the three off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states, which will hold on November 11, 2023.