By Mark Orgu, News/Comments, January 9, 2023
ABUJA-93.5 million eligible voters will participate in electing who will lead them in the February and March elections. This was according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), through its National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, during the commission’s engagement with identified groups on the role of the youth ahead of the 2023 general election. Mr. Okoye has however stated that out of the 93.5 million voters, 48million are youths, constituting the major determing factor for any candidate to emerge whether presidency, governor, and others; even as he reiterated that the role of youths is very essential to decide their the winners of the election. He also wants youths to come out on the day of the election and vote their preferred candidates.
According to the Commissioner, out of a total of 9,518,756 valid newly registered voters between June 28, 2021 and July 31, 2022, those aged between 18 and 34 years of age were 7,286,871, representing 76.56 per cent, total registered voters for the general election was 93.5 million, while that, of the 84 million registered voters recorded for the 2019 general election, the youth population, which included males and females, was 51 per cent.
On the delivery of the Commission’s technology for the election, Mr. Okoye hinted that the electoral process would be strictly technology-driven, as the commission has already deployed technology in all its processes. His words:
“The commission had already taken delivery of the full number of the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System, for the conduct of the election in the 176,846 polling units across the federation. Additional BVAS for contingencies would be deployed to the 8,809 registration areas across the country.
“The BVAS were designed to function offline, and, that only accredited voters would be allowed to cast votes on the day of the polls.
“Only registered voters, who present their Permanent Voters Cards at the polling unit, would be accredited to vote.
“Over 1.4 million ad-hoc election staff had been engaged by the commission for the conduct of the 2023 general election, and insurance policy had been secured for them against hazards of the election, especially possible attack.
“Punishment for any act of electoral offence against electoral officers has been made stiffer in the current 2022 Electoral Act (as amended) than the provisions in the previous 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).”
Okoye also warn any ad-hoc staff not to be carried away or compromise any process or fall victim of any form of election rigging during the conduct of the exercise. That, such staff should better resign now or will face grievous consequence.
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