INEC Puts Nigerians Eligible To Vote At 68.8 Million

To match Interview NIGERIA-ELECTION/

A total of 68,833,476 Nigerians registered for next month’s general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, at a meeting with the national leadership of all the 23 registered political parties in Abuja on Tuesday evening, added that over four million  people were involved in multiple registrations.

He said, “In line with the provisions of the law, the commission has just announced the publication of the register of voters that will be used for the February 2015 general elections. The total number of voters registered for the elections is 68,833,476.”

Jega explained that the names of those  involved in double registration  had been deleted from    the computer.

He said that 38,774,391 Nigerians had so far collected their Permanent Voter Cards out of the 54,341,610 that were ready as of Monday last week.

Jega added that the commission had ordered for more PVCs and that some  were already awaiting collection.

The INEC boss said, “The commission has taken delivery of additional PVCs from its contractor and we are positive that we will have all outstanding cards with us by January 28, 2015.

“For the avoidance of doubt, possession of PVCs is a strict condition for anyone intending to vote in the 2015 elections.”

Asked about the resolution passed by the House of Representatives shortly before he met with the leaders of the parties asking INEC to also use Temporary Voter Cards , he said he was not aware of the resolution.

He nevertheless said that the commission was working with the intent of using only PVCs for the elections.

Jega regretted that many Nigerians had failed to collect their PVCs, adding that in order to address this, the commission had directed all its resident electoral commissioners to further decentralise the distribution of the cards to the ward level.

The  distribution, according to him, would begin at 8. 30 am and end at 5. 30 pm every day except Sunday.

He added,  “INEC will use card readers for the elections. The commission has taken delivery of more than 130,000 units of the card readers and we are on schedule to receive the remaining quantity before the end of January.”

Jega announced that the deployment of the cards to states had started, adding that there were about 150,000 polling points in the country.

He said that elections would hold in all the parts of the country, including the troubled North-East, but added that this might be difficult in some local governments being fully occupied by  Boko Haram.

The electoral umpire added,  “INEC has always said it is preparing to conduct elections in all the 36 states of the federation, including the three North- East states experiencing the challenge of insurgency.

“The commission, however, will work closely with security agencies who have the constitutional responsibility for security”.

On whether Internally Displaced  Persons would vote, he said that the commission was finalising arrangements to enable them to vote.

He said on Tuesday, the commission would meet with stakeholders to present its plans and get their input.

Jega also said that 14 political parties submitted candidates for the presidential election. But he did not give the  names of the parties and the candidates.

For the senatorial election, where there are 109 seats, he said that there are 739 candidates. About 1,780 candidates, according to him, are vying for the 360 seats in the House of Representatives.

This makes the total number of candidates vying for the 479 seats in the National Assembly 2,519.

Jega said that INEC would publish the lists of the candidates for the state elections (governors and the State Houses of Assembly) on January 27.

Earlier, the Director, ICT Department in the commission, Mr. Chidi Nwafor, made a presentation to the party leaders on how the commission carried out the registration exercise.

He said that some voters used different names to register.

In his submission, the Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council, Mr. Tanko Yunisa,  commended INEC for its  strict compliance with the law.

He asked that copies of the voter register be presented to parties to enable them to make their observations where necessary.