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2019 Election: Surge in voter registration as Nigeria prepares for polls

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[FILES] Election

More than 84 million people have been registered to vote in Nigeria’s general elections next month, the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said.

Voters in Africa’s most populous nation go to the polls to elect a new president and parliament on February 16. Governorship and state assembly polls follow two weeks later.

INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu told political party leaders in Abuja on Monday that “the final register for the 2019 General Election stands at 84,004,084 voters”.

The number is an 18 per cent increase on the last election in 2015, when there were 68,833,476 registered voters.

Seventy-three candidates from 91 political parties are standing for election as president, including the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, from the ruling All Progressives Congress.

He is hoping to secure a second, four-year term but looking to stop him is Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

In parliament, 109 seats are up for grabs in the Senate upper chamber, and all 360 in the lower House of Representatives.

Governorship elections are to be held in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states and Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Yakubu said a number of measures had been introduced to combat the problem of vote-buying, which was said to have been widespread in recent gubernatorial elections.

Ballot boxes had been moved nearer to voting booths, using mobile phones and “photographic devices” has been banned, and voters will have to flatten ballots before they are cast.

But he warned there were attempts to buy permanent voter cards, which contain biometric details and are used to identify electors on polling day.

At the governorship election in the southwest state of Ekiti last year, the APC and PDP were accused of offering voters 3,000 to 5,000 naira ($8-13, 7-12 euros) for their PVCs.

During the PDP presidential primaries in October, some candidates, including Abubakar, were accused of offering financial inducements to delegates.

Yakubu said efforts to rig were “futile” and those attempting to compromise INEC staff would be dealt with.


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