‘Demographic advantage of youth would sway next year’s poll’
Available statistics indicate that Nigerian youths would determine how next year’s general election would pan out.
This is supported by the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who predicted that the youth population could tilt the outcome of the 2019 general election to wherever they decide.
The INEC chairman disclosed that the Osun State poll, scheduled for September 22, would feature the highest number of contestants (48) in the history of gubernatorial elections in the country. He added that since the commencement of the CVR exercise in April 2017, the commission has registered close to 11million Nigerians.
Yakubu spoke, when he paid a courtesy visit on the management of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), which hosted the INEC Youth Votes Count Campus Outreach Initiative.
He disclosed that judging from the figures emanating from the on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, coupled with the voting pattern noticed in the 2015 general elections, Nigerian youths currently constitute a sizeable percentage of the total population of registered voters that could be a game changer in the 2019 polls.
He said: “We had 37 candidates for Anambra and 35 for Ekiti governorship elections but Osun has beaten them all.”
He said that while the commission had already registered 68 political parties, it was processing over 130 applications from associations seeking registration.
He said: “Our projection is that we might end up with 80 to 85 political parties. If half of them nominate candidates, we may end up with 46,000 candidates for the 2019 general elections.”
“In 2019, we are going to conduct elections into 1, 558 constituencies thus: 1 presidential constituency, 29 governorship constituencies, because in seven states, the governorship elections are conducted off-season. We have done six, and next month, we are conducting the Osun governorship election.
Then, we have 109 senators, 360 members of the House of Representatives, 991 members of state assemblies, and 69 chairmen and councillors in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”
The INEC Chairman also disclosed that since the 2015 general elections, the commission had conducted elections into 182 constituencies.
“These elections have helped us to improve our processes and sharpened our skills,” he stated.
He thanked the management of the university for producing the kind of workforce the commission needs for election duties, adding that INEC has been benefitting from BUK’s pool of staff members who had served as returning and collation officers.
Responding, the vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Mohammed Bello said:
“We want to thank you for choosing our university for the zonal engagement event. It shows the confidence you have in us and I assure you that we will do whatever we can to give you support on this.
“The task before you is a herculean one. But in addition to the foundation laid by Prof. Attahiru Jega, anyone that knows you and has seen the difference you have been making where you are, would know that you are up to the task.”
The INEC campus initiative being sponsored by the European Union (EU), is the third in the series, having been held at the universities of Abuja and Lagos.
It is designed to encourage the youths, particularly University students to register, collect their permanent voter’s card, vote in the 2019 general elections and continue to participate in the electoral process.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Church of God Mission International, Margaret Benson Idahosa, has urged politicians to eschew do-or-die politics and allowing the wishes of Nigerians to prevail in 2019 general elections, stressing that all citizens must embrace peace and promote unity of the country irrespective of political or religious affiliation.
The archbishop made the call when members of the Correspondents Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State council paid a courtesy on her on her 75th birthday anniversary. She said: “We are saying to them that it is not a do-or-die affair.
Enough is enough. Lets do it the way that God wants us to do it.
There is no reason for killing, destruction of property. Once a life is gone, is gone. That page is close. Death is final.
There is nothing anyone can do about death.
“As for 2019 general elections, I believe that God has put us here and whatever we say or desire, will come to pass.
I believe the will of God must be done in Nigeria.
Not the will of the enemies, but the will of God.
God has made us – Nigeria and he put us here and no one can disintegrate Nigeria.”