By Nathaniel Gana
18th January, 2018
Nigerians have again been assured that only their votes will determine the outcome of the 2019 General Elections and future polls.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance at the 15th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue, with the theme: “Nigeria and the challenges of 2019,” held in Abuja on 18th January.
Represented by National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Solomon Soyebi, the INEC Chairman noted that there had been a lot of improvement in the electoral process since the current Commission came on board.
He said the Commission was not unmindful of the enormous responsibility of conducting elections in the largest presidential democracy in Africa, and second only to that of the United States in terms registered voters.
The INEC Chairman disclosed that as at last week, the Commission had 74 million registered voters, hinting that by projection, the figure could hit between 80 and 85 million by 2019 due to the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
Responding to a concern raised by one of the speakers, Kate Henshaw (a Nollywood star and politician) in her presentation about youth participation in the electoral process, the INEC Chairman said, “women, youth, People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) have always been at the fulcrum of the Commission’s plans.” He assured that INEC would continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure an all-inclusive process.
Professor Yakubu used the opportunity to stress the Commission’s resolve to adhere strictly to the timelines provided in the recently released Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections.
He commended the Daily Trust Newspaper, organizers of the Dialogue, for contributing to the deepening of democracy through balance and fair reportage of the Commission’s policies, activities and other electoral related issues.
Professor Yakubu implored other media organisations to emulate Daily Trust by verifying facts first and help reduce the huge amount of rumours being circulated in the electoral space, especially in the social media age.