Following the announcement of the preliminary register of voters for the 2023 general election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu yesterday, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Katsina and Oyo states have been reported to have the highest number of registered voters.

According to the preliminary voter register, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and Rivers states lead with 7,075,192, 5,927,565, 4,345,469 and 3,532,990, respectively, while Katsina has 3,519,260 and Oyo, with 3,275,045. Further breakdown in percentages reveals that Lagos has 7.57 %, Kano, 6.34 %, Kaduna, 4.65 %, Rivers, 3.77 %, Katsina and Oyo have 3.76 %, and 3.51% respectively.

Checks indicate that voters in the six states constitute 27.68m or 29.59 percent of the entire registered voters of 93.5 million.

Further breakdown of the preliminary register shows that the seven states, (Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Jigawa), in the North-West geopolitical zone, has a total of 22.27 million voters, which is considered the highest number of registered voters.

This show an increase in the zone’s registered voters, because in 2019 North-West had 20.15million voters, but now it has risen to 22,27 million, meaning the zone got an additional 2.12 million voters between 2019 and now.

The South-West, which has six states ( Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Lagos and Ogun states) also recorded an increase in its voter register, the zone had 16.29 million voters in 2019, but now has 17.93 million voters, meaning an additional 1.64 million were newly-registered.

This was followed by the six states in the South-South zone (Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Cross-River, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta) which recorded an increase of 2.4 million new registered voters. The zone had 12.8 million in 2019 and now has 14.4 million.

It was also gathered that the North-Central, which is made up of Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger Kwara, and Plateau now has a total of 13.8 million voters while the North-East which consists of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe added 1.07 million new voters to reach 12.5 million.

The South-East, which is the smallest geopolitical zone, with five states (Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Imo) now has a total of 10.9 million voters while the Federal Capital Territory increased from 1.3 million to 1.5 million registered voters.

The preliminary voters register also revealed that Lagos still held its position as the state with the highest number of registered voters, increasing its figure from 6.5 million to 7.07 million.

Followed by Kano and Kaduna with 5.9 million and 4.3 million respectively.

Also, Rivers state overtook Katsina to be the fourth largest state in terms of voters with 3.53 million, while Katsina has 3.51 million voters.

Meanwhile, the INEC boss said the majority of the newly registered voters were young people.

Yakubu, while addressing the political parties in Abuja yesterday noted that “In terms of demographic distribution, 7.2mn new voters or 76.5 per cent are young people between 18-34 years while there is a slightly higher number of female (4.8m or 50.82 per cent) than male (4.6m or 49.18 per cent) voters. In terms of occupation, 3.8m (40.8 per cent) are students.

“The 9,518,188 new voters have been added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters. The preliminary register of voters in Nigeria now stands at 93,522,272.’’
He remarked that, in compliance with sections, 19(1) and (2) of the Electoral Act 2022, the hard copies of the register of voters for each registration area and local government area would be displayed and simultaneously published on the commission’s website for two weeks for scrutiny, claims and objections by citizens not later than 90 days to the general election.”

The INEC chairman, who said the cleanup of the register led to the discovery of 2,780,756 illegal registrants, advanced that further details, including the procedure for filing claims and objections, will be released by the commission next week.

He said “Accordingly, in the next few days, the Commission will print 9,352,228 pages of the register. The hard copy will be displayed for each of the 8,809 Registration Areas (wards) and 774 local government areas nationwide while the entire register will be published on our website for claims and objections as required by law.

“The display of the physical register will take place at the designated centres from Saturday, 12th – Friday, 25th November 2022. I would like to appeal to all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the display to scrutinize the list and help us to clean it up further so that the final register of voters for the 2023 General Election can be compiled and published.

“You may recall that the CVR, which started on 28th, June 2021 lasted for 13 consecutive months until its suspension on 31st July 2022. At the end of the exercise, 12,298,944 Nigerians successfully completed registration as new voters. All along, we have repeatedly assured Nigerians that our process of cleaning up the register is robust.

“After a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the Automated Biometric Identification System, a total of 2,780,756 (22.6 per cent) were identified as ineligible registrants and invalidated from the record, among them double/multiple registrants, under-aged persons and outright fake registrations that fail to meet our business rules. Consequently, the number of valid registrations (post-ABIS) is 9,518,188.”

“As a result, the Commission has so far identified 23 registration officers involved in this unethical conduct and disciplinary action has commenced. We shall continue to protect the integrity of our voters’ registers.

“The Commission is also working hard to ensure the completion of printing of remaining Permanent Voter Cards for new voters as well as those that applied to transfer or the replacement of their lost or damaged cards.

“In the coming days, we will also inform Nigerians of the detailed plan to ensure a seamless collection of the PVCs. We are aware that Nigerians expect an improvement in the procedure for PVC collection. Since the end of the CVR in July this year, we have been working to ensure that citizens have a pleasant experience when they come to collect their cards,” Yakubu added.

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