68.8 million Nigerians eligible to vote in Feb 2015

Former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Tuesday said 68.8 million people are eligible to vote in February 2015 general elections.

This figure reflects a reduction when compared to the 2011 elections figure of approximately 73. 5 million.

The INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, made the announcement at a press conference that followed official publication of the Register of Voters for the 2015 elections at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, on Tuesday.

During the presentation of the Register of Voters to the 23 political parties that were represented, INEC Director of IT, Chidi Nwazor, said after the 2011 elections, the Commission embarked on a three-stage registration optimisation process of Voters’ Register “which is the basis for a free, fair and credible election”, including Data Consolidation Exercise; Automated Fingers Identification System; and Application of Business Rules for Production of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs to arrive at valid registrants for the elections.

In the course of the optimisation process, multiple registrations were discovered and cleaned up to arrive at 68, 833,476 valid voters from the initial 74, 638,834 captured during the Data Consolidation Exercise, Mr. Nwazor said.

There were thus approximately five million multiple registrations, INEC said.

Collection of PVCs

Mr. Jega said “more than 38 million PVCs have been collected by duly registered voters across the country”.

This leaves approximately 21 million PVCs yet to be collected.

To address the challenge, he said distribution of PVCs had been decentralised to the ward level and extended. He added that the time for distribution is now 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 a.m., Mondays to Saturdays.

He said INEC would complete distribution of cards before February 14.

Mr. Jega confirmed that INEC would use card readers and had already taken delivery of more than 130, 000 units of the readers while the remaining would be received before the end of January.

He also reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensure Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.

Mr. Jega sought the cooperation of all Nigerians to achieve the objective of conducting peaceful, credible, free and fair elections.

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