You may recall that at our last meeting held about two (2) months ago and four days after the Ekiti State Governorship election on Wednesday 18thJuly 2018, I told you that as we approach the 2019 general elections, our meetings are going to become more regular.
Today’s meeting is holding exactly sixteen (16) days to the Osun State Governorship election scheduled for Saturday 22ndSeptember 2018.
Since the Ekiti State Governorship election, the Commission has conducted six (6) bye-elections, concluded five (5), but suspended the Port Harcourt III State Constituency in Rivers State.
In addition to the interim report submitted to the Commission, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in charge of the State will brief this meeting on that election.
I wish to assure Nigerians that our elections will continue to meet the requirements of our laws, processes and procedures as well as international best practice.
Today’s meeting shall dwell essentially and extensively on the conclusion of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise and the consequential steps we need to take as we continue to prepare for the 2019 general elections.
As you are aware, the Commission concluded the current phase of the nationwide CVR exercise last week.
For a period of sixteen (16) months, from 27thApril 2017 to 31stAugust 2018, the exercise was conducted continuously in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as envisaged by the Electoral Act.
At the end of the exercise, a total of 14,551,482 new voters were registered. If this figure is added to the existing register of 69,720,350 voters, it means that the nation now has a voter population of 84,271,832.
Although the figure may drop slightly after we run the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), the current figure represents about 21% increase on the existing register.
On this note, let me also appeal to Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the ongoing nationwide display of the particulars of new voters for claims and objections as required by law.
By doing so, citizens will be helping the Commission to further clean up the register and purge it of all ineligible registrants as required by Sec. 12 of the Electoral Act.
The Commission has consistently shared information on the voter registration exercise with Nigerians by publishing the figures as well as detailed breakdown by States and gender.
After running the AFIS, the Commission shall present a detailed analysis of the voter register, not only by State and gender, but also by age group and occupation.
In addition to fresh registration, the Commission is also processing 769,917 requests for intra and inter-State transfers as well as 1,178,793 requests for replacement of lost, damaged or cards with misspelt names or incorrect personal details of voters as required by law.
This means that the Commission has to print a total of 16,500,192 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and make them available for collection by citizens ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Already, the Commission has printed the PVCs for those registered in 2017 and delivered them to States for collection.
I can also confirm that the PVCs for 2.7 million voters registered in the first quarter of 2018 have been printed and will be delivered to the States next week.
We wish to reassure Nigerians that every registered voter will have his/her PVC available for collection before the general election.
The collection of PVCs will continue until one week to the 2019 general elections.
We shall ensure that the process of collection is simplified with minimum inconvenience to citizens.
We will also ensure that information about the collection of PVCs is widely disseminated.
Already, we are partnering with telecommunication companies to send bulk text (sms) messages to citizens for the collection of their PVCs.
Remarks by Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners last Thursday.