Nigeria: As Nigeria Decides Tomorrow... Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Rivers Lead in Voter Numbers

Atiku Abubakar vs Muhammadu Buhari.
22 February 2019

"Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Rivers states are leading in number of eligible voters as the presidential and National Assembly elections take place across the country tomorrow, Daily Trust reports.

This is based on the figures released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which put the number of collected Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) at 72, 775, 502, representing 86.63 percent of the total registered voters put at 84, 004, 084.

The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told stakeholders yesterday in Abuja that only those with PVCs issued by the commission and read by the smart card readers will be eligible to vote in tomorrow's elections.

He put the number of uncollected PVCs at 11,228,582, representing 13.14 per cent, adding that they have been deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) until after the election.

The PVC collection ended on February 11 after three extensions to enable Nigerians collect their cards.

"Out of 84,004,084 registered voters, the total number of PVCs collected stands at 72,775,502 which representing 86.63% of the total PVCs collected. A total of 11,228,582 PVCs representing 13.37 percent are uncollected. Out of this figure, 7,817,905 PVCs were carried over from the 2014-2016 registration exercises while 3,410,677are from the last Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise held between April 2017 and August 2018," he said.

He said a number of states had commenced deployment to the Local Government Areas (LGAs) and that there is no state that has not commenced the deployment to LGAs.

He said, "In fact, 19 states have fully deployed. By the end of the day, all states and FCT would have deployed except Bayelsa State which is moving direct from our State Office in Yenagoa to the Registration Area Centres (RACs) tomorrow.

"Tomorrow, activities at ward level will commence with the activation of the RACs at 9.00am while the movement of personnel and materials will commence at mid-day. This is the last staging post before deployment to 119,973 polling units leading to the opening of polls at 8.00am on Saturday."

PVC collection breakdown

A tally of the figures released by INEC showed that five states top the list of eligible voters with almost 20 million collected PVCs among them. Despite topping the list of uncollected PVCs, Lagos still leads with 5,531, 389 eligible voters. It is followed by Kano with 4,696,747; Kaduna 3,648,831; Katsina 3, 187, 988 and Rivers 2, 833, 101 (See table).

States with at least 2million eligible voters include Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Delta, Niger, Oyo, and Plateau.

Ekiti State has the least number of eligible voters based on collected PVCs with 666,591; it is followed by Bayelsa with 769,509 and FCT with 1,026,920.

The INEC chairman said he was not under any pressure to resign after the commission had rescheduled the dates for presidential and National Assembly elections from February 16 to 23 and governorship and House of Assembly elections from March 2 to 9 citing logistics issues.

Visa extension for foreign observers

Yakubu also said the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), working with INEC, is granting extension of visa to all international observers who require such facility.

Some of the international observers are on short-term single entry visa, while some may also wish to leave the country after the elections this Saturday and return to observe the governorship, state assembly and FCT Area Council elections slated for Saturday 9th March 2019.

He said the NIS is also granting re-entry visa to all observers who may wish to travel out of the country and return for the second part of the General Elections.

"The Service (NIS) has also requested me to convey its decision to waive the visa fee and treat all such requests expeditiously. The extension of stay or re-entry into the country will be treated gratis.

"A special desk to handle those who wish to extend their stay as well as those travelling and coming back to Nigeria before 9thMarch 2019 has been set up at the Headquarters of the INEC. Two immigration officers have been assigned to carry out the ad hoc assignment," he added.

NYSC corps welfare

He lamented that the commission is unhappy with images of some of Youth Corps members serving as Presiding Officers (POs) at Polling Units (PUs), sleeping rough at the RAC centres. He said the commission has discussed with the Director General of the NYSC on how this situation can be ameliorated.

"We have made an arrangement with the NYSC to move the mattresses used in their orientation camps nationwide, except Borno State where Youth Corps members are not deployed, to ease their hardship. As usual, the commission will provide electricity generators and supply water and toiletries in the RACs. We have also liaised with the security agencies for adequate protection," he said.

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