INEC: Youths Could De­ter­mine Out­come of 2019 Elec­tions

THISDAY - - NEWSXTRA -

The Chair­man of the Independent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC), Mah­mood Yakubu, has pre­dicted that Nige­rian youths, with their pop­u­la­tion, could de­ter­mine the out­come of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion.

He also re­vealed that the Osun State gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion, slated forSeptem­ber 22, would fea­ture the high­est num­ber of con­tes­tants in the his­tory of gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions in Nige­ria so far.

Speak­ing dur­ing a courtesy visit to the man­age­ment of Bayero Univer­sity, Kano (BUK), which hosted the INEC Youth Votes Count Cam­pus Out­reach Ini­tia­tive yes­ter­day, Yakubu re­vealed that judg­ing from the fig­ures em­a­nat­ing from the on-go­ing Con­tin­u­ous Voter Reg­is­tra­tion (CVR) ex­er­cise, cou­pled the vot­ing pat­tern no­ticed in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, Nige­rian youth cur­rently con­sti­tute a size­able per­cent­age of the to­tal pop­u­la­tion of reg­is­tered vot­ers that could be a game changer in the 2019 polls.

He averred that since the com­mence­ment of the CVR ex­er­cise in April 2017, the com­mis­sion has reg­is­tered close to 11 mil­lion Nige­ri­ans.

His words: “By the time we sus­pend the CVR ex­er­cise on Au­gust 17, the num­ber of reg­is­tered vot­ers will be well over 11 mil­lion. If we add this to the ex­ist­ing Voter Reg­is­ter of 70 mil­lion, and by the time we go into the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions, we would have had over 80 mil­lion vot­ers.”

He con­tin­ued: “From what we are see­ing so far (in the on­go­ing CVR), 2019 is go­ing to be the year of the youth. Quite a large num­ber of those that have reg­is­tered to vote are the youth, mean­ing the young boys and girls be­tween the ages of 18 and 35. When we did the anal­y­sis of the 2015 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults, the youth also played a very im­por­tant role.

“So, we are here (Bayero Univer­sity) to con­tinue to en­cour­age them. We have al­ready an­nounced the date for the sus­pen­sion of the CVR, which is Au­gust 17th. We have been reg­is­ter­ing el­i­gi­ble Nige­ri­ans for the last 16 months (since April 27, 2017).

On the Osun State gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion, Yakubu said that 48 po­lit­i­cal par­ties were field­ing a record num­ber of 48 can­di­dates for one po­si­tion, the high­est so far in any gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion con­ducted by INEC in the coun­try.

He said, “We had 37 can­di­dates for Anam­bra and 35 for Ek­iti gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions, but Osun has beaten them all.”

He said that while the com­mis­sion had al­ready reg­is­tered 68 po­lit­i­cal par­ties, it is cur­rently pro­cess­ing over 130 ap­pli­ca­tions from as­so­ci­a­tions seek­ing reg­is­tra­tion as po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

He said: “Our pro­jec­tion is that we might end up with 80 to 85 po­lit­i­cal par­ties. If half of them nom­i­nate can­di­dates, we may end up with 46,000 can­di­dates for the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion.”

He gave the break­down: “In 2019, we are go­ing to con­duct elec­tions into 1,558 con­stituen­cies thus: 1 pres­i­den­tial con­stituency, 29 gov­er­nor­ship con­stituen­cies, be­cause in seven states, the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions are con­ducted off-sea­son. We have done six, and next month, we are con­duct­ing the Osun gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion. Then, we have 109 sen­a­tors, 360 mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, 991 mem­bers of state As­sem­blies, and 69 chair­men and Coun­cil­lors in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT).”

The INEC chair­man also re­vealed that since the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions, the com­mis­sion had con­ducted elec­tions into 182 con­stituen­cies. “These elec­tions have helped us to im­prove our pro­cesses and sharpen our skills.”

He thanked the man­age­ment of the univer­sity for pro­duc­ing the kind of work­force the com­mis­sion needs for elec­tion du­ties, ad­ding that INEC has been ben­e­fit­ting from BUK’s pool of staff mem­bers who had served as Re­turn­ing and Col­la­tion of­fi­cers.

Re­spond­ing, the Vice Chan­cel­lor of the institution, Mo­hammed Bello, said:

“We want to thank you for choos­ing our univer­sity for the zonal en­gage­ment event. It shows the con­fi­dence you have in us and I as­sure you that we will do what­ever we can to give you sup­port on this.”

The task be­fore you is a her­culean one. But in ad­di­tion to the foun­da­tion laid by At­tahiru Jega, any­one that knows you and has seen the dif­fer­ence you have been mak­ing where you are, would know that you are up to the task.

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