The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has announced that under-aged persons would not be allowed to participate in the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
The electoral body on Wednesday said the commission was undertaking a comprehensive cleaning up of the voters’ register to get rid of electorates who are currently below the age of 18.
Naija News reports that the development was made known yesterday by the chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yakubu who spoke in Abuja during the commission’s first quarterly meeting with civil society organisations said only eligible citizens would be added to the voters’ register for the 2023 poll.
The INEC Chairman said: “We are aware that Nigerians want to know when their PVCs will be available for collection. We appreciate the role of civil society organisations in encouraging and mobilising eligible Nigerians who have not registered to do so. At the same time, we want you to continue to sensitise them that those who had registered at any time previously need not register again.
“For those who have completed the registration, the Commission is right now undertaking the most comprehensive cleaning up of the data to ensure that only eligible citizens are added to the voters’ register for the 2023 General Election. We will share our findings with Nigerians very soon. The actual dates for the collection of the Permanent Voters’ Cards nationwide will also be announced very soon,” Yakubu said.
Naija News understands that the northern region of the country has in previous elections recorded the highest number of voters.
A contributing factor to the higher voter turnout is widely believed to be the receipt of under-aged children in the voting processes.
However, the INEC declaration on Wednesday if duly effected, will affect voters turnout in the Northern region.
Speaking further on the progress recorded so far ahead of the 2023 general election, Yakubu said a total of 8,260,076 eligible Nigerians commenced the online pre-registration, completed the registration physically, applied for transfer to new voting locations, requested for replacement of their PVCs and updated their voter information records.
According to him, since the exercise commenced in June last year, the Commission has so far published 36 weekly reports which show a consistent pattern of young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 34 constituting the largest majority of registrants.
He said that students constitute the largest majority of registrants in terms of occupation, which he said is consistent with the dominance of young Nigerians as voters.
The INEC chairman added: “We will continue to work with all stakeholders, especially the civil society organisations, to sensitise the youths and other categories of voters to ensure that beyond registration, they come and out and vote on election day. We should not simply lament, criticise and condemn. We must get involved for the good of our democracy and the nation.”
Speaking on the outstanding by-elections, Yakubu said that the suspended Ekiti East I State Constituency bye-election would be combined with the state governorship elections to be held on June 18, 2022, Naija News reports.
He said the Shinkafi State Constituency bye-election in Zamfara State would be announced after a thorough review of the security situation in the area, adding that the Commission awaits the declaration of vacancy by the Kaduna State House of Assembly in respect of the Giwa West State Constituency.
Yakubu’s statement continued: “For emphasis, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System will be deployed in the FCT elections which is the second major election after the Anambra Governorship election held in November last year.
“The 68 constituencies in the FCT (six Chairmen and 62 Councillors) covering extensive urban and rural locations sharing a border with five states in the North Central and North Western parts of the country is another opportunity to pilot the efficacy of the BVAS in a different geopolitical and electoral context.
“The same technology will be deployed in all forthcoming bye-elections across the country. For all elections going forward, Polling Unit results will be uploaded in real-time on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal,” Yakubu added.