The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has stated that the 2019 general elections will involve the largest number of registered voters our history.
He made the remarks at the 67th world congress of the international press institute held at the Abuja over the weekend.
“Let me begin by expressing my appreciation to IPI for the opportunity to speak on the media and elections. This is especially significant coming less than a year to the next general elections in Nigeria which, as usual, will be the focus of intense media attention nationally and internationally.
“I am grateful to IPI for the opportunity to address an international audience on our preparations for the election which will be different from all previous elections in many respects.
“The 2019 general elections will involve the largest number of registered voters our history. We are currently inching closer to 80 million voters although the nationwide voter registration exercise is ongoing. The figure will certainly rise above 80 million registered voters.
“The largest number of political parties of political parties will field candidates in the election. There are 68 political parties at present. However, with 138 applications from associations seeking registration as political parties, the number is set to rise higher. The political parties will contest in elections into 1,558 National, State as well as Local Constituencies in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).
“From the statistics of new voter registration nationwide, youths will play a far greater role in the election and processes thereof in 2019 than in previous elections.
“There is also increasing determination by marginalised groups such as women, youths and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) for greater participation than ever before and we are working with these groups to facilitate their full participation in the electoral process.
“Therefore, how is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) planning for the elections?”, he questioned.
The INEC chief further stated that the 2019 general election is the most deliberately well-planned election in Nigeria so far.
“We have formulated, validated and published the Strategic Plan (2016-2021), the Strategic Programme of Action and the Election Project Plan with the full participation of all stakeholders and support from the development partners.
“To enhance our transparency, we have been working very closely with stakeholders, including the media. At the moment, INEC has accredited correspondents from 85 media organisations to cover our activities all-year round. The number is growing and our doors remain open to all. We hold regular quarterly meetings with the media and other stakeholders.
“I want to assure this World Congress that INEC is committed to credible elections. On this note, I wish to extend our early invitation to especially the international media that require longer time and logistics to prepare that you are welcome to cover our 2019 general elections. We believe the forthcoming elections will further underscore the maturity of our electoral democracy after the globally acknowledged success of the 2015 general elections.”