The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Thursday that more than 80 million registered Nigerians were expected to vote during the 2019 general elections in the country.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, disclosed this in a paper he presented at the 14th All Nigeria Editors Conference, ANEC, holding in Asaba, Delta capital.
Yakubu, represented by Mike Igini, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Akwa Ibom, said that the figure was made up of 67 million existing registered voters and 14 million fresh registrants.
He said 91 political parties had been registered ahead of the 2019 elections, adding that there was a total of 120,000 polling units across the country.
The INEC chairman also said that the commission had so far conducted about 190 elections that had not been upturned by any law court.
He further disclosed that the commission had 16,000 staff across the nation, but added that the number was insignificant in managing elections effectively.
Yakubu urged Nigerians to take ownership of the election process by participating actively in it.
The INEC chairman appealed to politicians to shun “vote-buying” which he said the commission was currently working hard to curb.
“Vote-buying is bad and if we don’t deal with the problem of vote-buying, it will destroy the electoral process,” he said.
He further tasked the media to maintain neutrality in all its activities during and after elections, noting that the media had assisted tremendously in sustaining voters’ enlightenment.
Yakubu said that the gathering of editors provided an opportunity for INEC to update those who determined the content of news for the Nigerian people on the extent of its preparations for the elections.
“No other body in the country has a better reach than the media in disseminating the goals, intensions and efforts of the commission,” he said.
He noted that credible elections underscored the idea of election integrity and the notion of inclusiveness, transparency and accountability.
According to him, it requires that the Election Management Bodies (EMBs) who manage elections should live above board.
Mahmood advised the EMBs to act in a non-partisan and independent manner by ensuring that established rules governing the conduct of elections were enforced fully and impartially.