Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the 2023 general election is an election for the youths in Nigeria.
Giving a breakdown of voter registration and collected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in Nigeria at his address at Chatham House, London, on Tuesday, Yakubu said records at hand showed that the election would be dominated by young people.
According to him, he was encouraged by the turn-out of registered voters to collect their PVCs and that over 600,000 eligible voters collected theirs in Lagos alone within the last one month.
The INEC boss stated that there are currently 93.4 million registered voters in Nigeria out of which 37 million, that is 39 per cent, are young people between the ages of 18 and 34.
“And then they’re closely followed by 33.4 million or 35.3 percent middle-age voters between the ages of 35 and 49.
“Put together, these two categories constitute 75.39 per cent of registered voters in Nigeria. So, actually the 2023 election is the election of the young people, because they have the numbers. Even the majority of the PVCs collected are collected by young people.
“So, out of the 93.4 million, 70.4 million registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 49,” Yakubu stated.
He reminded the audience that the collection of the PVCs would end on January 29, adding that “we have to end it because before the election we will publish number of PVCs collected on polling unit by polling unit basis nationwide.”
In response to a question about diaspora voting he said although the electoral body subscribes to it, the Nigerian law makes it impossible for such category of citizens to vote in the nation’s elections.
“The position of law remains; unless you are resident in Nigeria, you cannot register and you cannot vote,” he said.
However, “I am absolutely convinced that it is only a matter of time when this will be achieved,” Yakubu added.
He narrated that the commission maintains an open-door policy and has collaborated with different diaspora groups to the point when the proposition for diaspora voting was sent to the National Assembly for deliberation where it was defeated.