The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has predicted that Nigerian youths, with their population, could be the ones to determine the outcome of the 2019 general elections.
Yakubu also revealed that the Osun State governorship election, slated for September 22, would feature the highest number of contestants in the history of governorship elections in Nigeria so far.
These comments were made on Tuesday, August 7, while he spoke during a courtesy visit to the management of Bayero University, Kano (BUK), which hosted the INEC Youth Votes Count Campus Outreach Initiative.
Mr Yakubu revealed that judging from the figures emanating from the on-going Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, coupled the voting pattern noticed in the 2015 general elections, Nigerian youth currently constitute a sizeable percentage of the total population of registered voters that could be a game changer in the 2019 polls.
He averred that since the commencement of the CVR exercise in April 2017, the commission has registered close to 11 million Nigerians.
His words: “By the time we suspend the CVR exercise on August 17, the number of registered voters will be well over 11 million. If we add this to the existing Voter Register of 70 million, and by the time we go into the 2019 general elections, we would have had over 80 million voters.”
“From what we are seeing so far (in the ongoing CVR), 2019 is going to be the year of the youth. Quite a large number of those that have registered to vote are the youth, meaning the young boys and girls between the ages of 18 and 35.
When we did the analysis of the 2015 presidential election results, the youth also played a very important role.
“So, we are here (Bayero University) to continue to encourage them. We have already announced the date for the suspension of the CVR, which is August 17th. We have been registering eligible Nigerians for the last 16 months (since April 27, 2017).