January 9, 2023
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said youths constitute the highest number of registered voters, who would vote in the February and March elections with 48 million out of the entire 93.5 million eligible voters.
The National Commissioner at INEC in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, stated this during the commission’s engagement with identified groups on the role of the youth ahead of the 2023 general election.
Okoye said from INEC’s records, the youth held all the aces to determine the outcome of the 2023 elections.
He said out of a total of 9,518,756 valid newly registered voters between June 28, 2021 and July 31, 2022, those aged between 18 and 34 years of age were 7,286,871, representing 76.56 per cent.
Okoye said the total of registered voters for the general election was 93.5 million, adding that, of the 84 million registered voters recorded for the 2019 general election, the youth population, which included males and females, was 51 per cent.
He urged the youths to ensure that they cast their votes on election day, emphasising that it is only when they do so that they would determine who would lead them.
Okoye explained that the electoral process would be strictly technology-driven, adding that the commission has already deployed technology in all its processes.
He said, “The commission had already taken delivery of the full number of the Bimodal Voter’s Accreditation System, for the conduct of the election in the 176,846 polling units across the federation. Additional BVAS for contingencies would be deployed to the 8,809 registration areas across the country.
“The BVAS were designed to function offline, and, that only accredited voters would be allowed to cast votes on the day of the polls.
“Only registered voters, who present their Permanent Voters Cards at the polling unit, would be accredited to vote.
“Over 1.4 million ad-hoc election staff had been engaged by the commission for the conduct of the 2023 general election, and insurance policy had been secured for them against hazards of the election, especially possible attack.
“Punishment for any act of electoral offence against electoral officers has been made stiffer in the current 2022 Electoral Act (as amended) than the provisions in the previous 2010 Electoral Act (as amended).”
Okoye advised any ad-hoc staff who might not be ready to resist the temptations of election rigging antics to withdraw from conducting the exercise.
Earlier, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in charge of Anambra State, Mrs. Queen Elizabeth Agwu, urged the youth to brace up for the challenges of ensuring that the election was conducted free of thuggery and any other electoral malpractices.