Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) final week virtually engaged the velocity gear, accelerating into superior actions for the 2019 basic elections with the presentation of the consolidated voters register to the leaderships of the political events in Abuja.
The reactions which have trailed the register, which in line with INEC, marked the completion of 10 out of the 14 programmes in the fee’s timetable and schedule of actions for the 2019 basic elections, underscored its important nature in the conduct of a reputable, free and truthful polls subsequent month.
The electoral physique had throughout the presentation introduced that it has cleared a complete of 84.004 million voters to take part in each the February 16 presidential/ Nationwide Meeting polls and the March 2, governorship and state meeting elections.
“Part 20 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As amended) said that the supplementary voters record shall be built-in with the voters register and revealed not later than 30 days earlier than a common election. The Fee has compiled the report of all people who registered in 2016-2018 and the register has been built-in with that of 2015.
“The Commission registered 14,283,734 new voters in its Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise between April 27, 2017 and August 31, 2018. The consolidated register of voters for 2019 general elections is 84,004,084,” the Fee introduced throughout the presentation of the consolidated voters register.
Whereas rolling out the breakdown of the statistics of the citizens for the common elections, the Fee revealed that the proportion of male voters is greater than the feminine voters.
It additional defined that whereas the inhabitants of male voters stood at 44,405,439 (52.86 per cent), that of the females totalled 39,598,645 (47.14 per cent).
The Fee equally disclosed that youths inside the ages of 18-35 accounted for the higher proportion of 51.11 per cent of the whole 84.004 million voting inhabitants whereas middle-aged voters inside the ages of 36-50 are 29.97 per cent.
The aged inside the ages of 51-70, the septuagenarians and octogenarians, in response to the electoral umpire, stood at 15.22 per cent and three.69 per cent respectively.
The fee additional emphasised that the variety of registered merchants that shall be voting throughout subsequent month’s ballot stood at 7,568,012; artisans, four,478,202; enterprise individuals, 10,810,006; civil servants, 5,038,671; farmers/fishermen, 13,630,216; housewives, 11,844,079; college students, 22,320,990; public servants, 2,292,167; and others, 6,021,742.
The zonal breakdown confirmed that the Southeast geopolitical zone, expectedly with the least voting inhabitants has a complete of 10.057 million, trailing the Northeast geopolitical zone with a voting power of 11.289 million; South-South, 12.841 million; Northcentral, 13.366 million; and Southwest, 16.292 million whereas the Northwest, the zone with highest voting public, has 20.158 million.
Giving additional breakdown of the statistics for the voting power of the citizens in line with the states, INEC revealed that Lagos, with a voting base of 6,570,291, tops the record of states as the highest voting inhabitants, Kano State trails behind Lagos with 5,457,747 registered voters.
Different states are Kaduna, three,932,492; Katsina, three,230,230; Rivers, three,215,273; Oyo, 2,934,107; Delta, 2,845,274; Plateau, 2,480,455; Benue, 2,480,131; Bauchi, 2,462,843; Anambra, 2,447,996; Niger, 2,390,zero35; Ogun, 2,375,003; Borno, 2,315,956; Imo, 2,272,293; Edo, 2,210,534; Akwa Ibom, 2,119,727; and Jigawa, 2,111,106.
The states with lower than two million voting inhabitants embrace; Adamawa, 1,973,083; Enugu, 1,944,zero16; Abia, 1,932,892; Sokoto, 1,903,166; Ondo, 1,822,346; Kebbi, 1,806,231; Taraba, 1,777,105; Zamfara, 1,717,128; Osun, 1,680,498; Kogi, 1,646,350; Nasarawa, 1,617,786; Cross River, 1,527,289; Ebonyi, 1,459,933; Kwara, 1,406,457; Gombe, 1,394,393; Yobe, 1,365,913; FCT, 1,344,856; Bayelsa, 923,182; and Ekiti, 909,967.
Comparative evaluation of the 2011, 2015 and 2019 basic elections’ statistics
From the statistics, though there’s clearly a recorded marginal distinction between the 2019 voting populations and the two successive elections held in 2011 and 2015, there’s, nevertheless, no critical paradigm shift in the voting power of the two most populated states of Kano and Lagos.
On reflection, whereas INEC cleared a complete variety of 73.5 million voters to take part in the 2011 common elections and 69.720 million voters to partake in the 2015 common elections, the variety of citizens it cleared for subsequent month’s election rose to 84.004 million.
The breakdown of the voter register obtained from the electoral umpire confirmed that identical to in the 2015 common elections; Lagos and Kano nonetheless remained the battleground, particularly for the presidential candidates.
In the 2011 common elections, Lagos had the highest variety of voters, which stood at 6.108 million, whereas Kano got here second with 5.027 million. In the 2015 basic elections, Lagos additionally had a better voting inhabitants of 5.827 million whereas Kano had four.993 million.
Scrutinising the voters register
Expectedly, combined reactions have continued to path the credibility of the voters’ register, with many claiming that it’s a packaged doc to favour a specific zone and a specific candidate of a political celebration.
For the Chairman of Inter-Social gathering Advisory Council (IPAC), Peter Ameh, the management of the political events are at present planning to topic the register to a radical forensic investigation.
Responding to the inquiry from Sunday Sun on whether or not he believes in the credibility of the register, he stated: “You know we just took delivery of the voters’ register. We are planning to subject it to thorough forensic examination and investigation. We want to scrutinise the register to see how some area despite the surge of insecurity could be higher than places with relative calm.”
On Lagos main the voting inhabitants, Ameh stated: “I’m not stunned that Lagos remained the state with the highest voting inhabitants. Lagos is a cosmopolitan metropolis and with some degree of push, voting consciousness, educated, enlightened individuals and advocacy by numerous spiritual homes, will expectedly stay forward of Kano. It didn’t come as shock to me.
“Nevertheless, I can guarantee you that Lagos will vote based mostly on the means and willingness of the candidates to deal with points on floor. Due to the degree of publicity of Lagosians, voting will boil right down to the constructive affect the manifestos of the celebration candidates could have on them.
“Regardless of the voting strength of any state, there will not be bulk voting for any party. The peculiarities of the 2015 elections will be lacking in this 2019 general election. The actors and spectators have changed. I feel that the candidates must work hard to earn their votes,” he argued.
The Nationwide Chairman of the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) equally expressed doubt over the risk of a reputable and truthful 2019 election, stressing: “There are people that are specialists in manipulating elections at the grassroots, states and national levels. But what we are appealing to the Nigerian voting public is to vote and secure their votes.”
Nevertheless, for the former president of the Nigeria Bar Affiliation (NBA), Murtala Abdul-Rasheed, it won’t come as a shock to many who Lagos retained the place as the state with the highest voting inhabitants.
His phrases: “It’s anticipated as a result of Lagos is working. There have been developmental strides in Lagos as a result of successive governments in Lagos have carried out with plenty of funding arising.
“It is just natural that many people migrate to Lagos daily and by all statistical standards, Lagos has had more influx of migrants on daily basis. You cannot compare Lagos with Kano facing one security challenge or the other. It is just natural that Lagos should retain its position as state with the highest voting population,” he advised Sunday Sun.
The former NBA boss additionally contended that in contrast to Kano State, the Lagos citizens would, nevertheless, be voting based mostly on particular person conviction, not collective affect from the political leaders.
“Should you watch our electoral trajectory, you’ll discover that Lagos has all the time voted based mostly on particular person conviction and the celebration they consider in. The Lagos citizens will not be like these in Kano or Kaduna as a result of they’re extra metropolitan with individuals of various ethnic and skilled background from throughout the nation.
“It is the popularity and manifesto of the political parties that will determine where the votes will go. I don’t see a situation in Lagos where the vote will be one directional as it happened in 2015 in a monolithic society like Kano State,” he quipped.
Requested how credible the consolidated voters register is, the former NBA boss stated: “I feel we have to perceive the socio-cultural angle of varied locations in the nation. We should always perceive that regardless of the undeniable fact that there are safety challenges in the North; they nonetheless marry multiple spouse. They procreate in excessive numbers greater than what we have now in different elements of the nation.
“States like Imo, for instance, is monogamous in nature. We should give it to northerners relating to multiplying start.
They’ve extra shock absorbers than another a part of the nation. These youngsters will certainly develop as much as voting age and impression on the voting demography of the nation. Additionally give it to them that they’re extra politically conscious.”
On his fears for the elections, he stated: “Violence. I am concerned about the ability and possibility of the security agents to demonstrate impartiality. They must convince Nigerians that they are not going to favour any of the political parties to the detriment of the others. They must also not be perceived as being biased.”
Voters’ register and problem of ASUU strike
From the INEC statistics, college students have the highest variety of voting inhabitants accounting for over 22.320 million. Nevertheless, the insoluble strike embarked upon by the Educational Employees Union of Universities (ASUU) will pose critical menace of disenfranchising that phase of the society with the highest voting power.
A dad or mum and authorized practitioner, Ezekiel Ugochukwu, informed Sunday Sun on phone that it’ll take solely an insane mother or father to permit his ward to journey that far distance to high school simply to forged his or her vote, asking rhetorically, who picks the invoice for the journey and lodging?
Requested if ASUU strike will have an effect on the election, Ugochukwu stated: “In the lately launched statistics of voters, college students have the highest quantity. However will probably be troublesome for them to vote as a result of there might be no motion on the election date.
“The only way out is to travel back to school, stay in the hotel to vote the next day. But the unanswered question is who picks the bill. I do not know of any parent who will allow his children to take that risk. For me, that will be a serious problem. My children dare not even mention such to me let alone embarking on such trip. No parent will allow that.”
The authorized practitioner equally faulted the voters’ register, alleging compromise by the electoral fee, simply as he confused: “I’ve a robust feeling that there’s connivance between INEC and some political events to rig the forthcoming elections.
“How did Kano not topple Lagos as state with the highest voting inhabitants, particularly as they advised us that Kano is extra populated than Lagos? I need to hinge it on the numerous accusations of underage voters, which INEC waved apart with the flimsy cause that the state electoral fee was answerable for that.
“It was not an outright denial. The voters’ register ought to be completely scrutinised as a result of INEC simply indicted itself with a questionable voters’ register. As an alternative of enhancing on the 2015 train, we’re quite falling brief. There’s each cause to be afraid that the course of could also be manipulated.
“The present government is poised to find a way to manipulate the process. It is a dangerous trend.”
Fallacy of score Southeast as least voting zone
One outstanding function of the voters’ register is the now established undeniable fact that the Southeast geopolitical zone has the least voting power in the nation.
Nevertheless, the score, in response to the Nationwide Chairman of the United Progressive Celebration (UPP), Chekwas Okerie, is just not solely a fallacy, however an error of reality, very removed from the actuality.
“The voters’ register distributions showed gender, zone, occupation, but did not show ethnic nationalities,” he advised Sunday Sun in Abuja, arguing: “For those who think about, the Southwest with 13 million votes, I can inform you that it has a composition of 5 million Igbo.
“It is the same with the Northwest with 20 million registered voters, where Igbo make up of about seven to eight million of that voters. So, if we consider the ethnic distribution of the figures we have seen, we will be looking at a number different from the impression given that Southeast is the least.”