Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it’s now ready to conduct elections on Saturday, February 23, and is expecting 72,775,502 permanent voter card holders to vote.
Notorious for always expressing its readiness, INEC cancelled the polls originally scheduled to commence last week just five hours to beginning of voting, citing logistics problems.
INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu told stakeholders in Abuja Thursday that 72,775,502 permanent voter cards (PVCs) had been collected nationwide as of the deadline for the collection of the cards on February 11. This represents 86. 63% of the 84,004,084 registered voters nationwide. He said 11,228,582 or 13.14% of the printed cards were yet to be collected.
“The commission as a matter of policy has said that no citizen can vote without a PVC issued by the commission and read by the card reader,” Yakubu stated. “All uncollected cards have been deposited with the CBN for custody.’’
At the state level, Lagos and Kano still record the highest number of registered voters at 6,570,291 and 5,457,747 respectively; while uncollected PVCs are placed at 1,038,902 and 761,000 respectively.
“Out of this figure 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014 to 2016 registration exercise, while 3,410,677 are from the last CVR held between April 2017 and August 2018.″
Yakubu said 19 states had fully deployed election materials including the non-sensitive materials to the local government areas, except for Bayelsa where materials would be deployed directly from the state INEC office on Friday.
“Tomorrow’s activities at the ward level will commence with the activation of the RACs at 9am while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at midday. This is the last scheduled course to the last deployment to 119, 973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8am Saturday,” he said.
He said the commission would provide water, electricity and other facilities needed as well as security for the NYSC members who will serve as ad-hoc staff. The commission, he said, was not happy about images on the social media showing NYSC members sleeping on the floor on February 16, before the cancellation of the polls.
The presidential and National Assembly elections will take place on Saturday. Governorship, state assembly and FCT polls are scheduled for March 9.