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Voter apathy on the rise in Nigeria. INEC explains the implications

Mahmood-Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concerns over the rise of voter apathy towards registration and the drastic reduction in voter turnout during elections.

INEC expressed its concern on Wednesday through the chairman, Board of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Prince Solomon Adedeji Soyebi and the institute’s director general, Dr Sa’ad Umar Idris, at the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on ‘Voter Apathy Towards Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and Elections’.

During the discussion organised by INEC/TEI in collaboration with University of Ibadan, UI-LISA, at the auditorium of the institute, Soyebi said that the group discussion was organised because INEC had been having “sleepless night” on the menace of voter apathy towards registration and elections.

“This is reflected by the data which shows an increasingly sharp drop within the last decade, between 1999 and 2019, in voter turnout.

“For example, the average voter turnout during the 1999 general elections was 52.3% which dropped to 34.7% during the 2019 general elections.

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“The implication is that only a few number of people are increasingly becoming involved in the election of our leaders. This challenge is disturbing and needs to be addressed immediately,” he said.

The development comes after INEC declared that there will be no substitution of candidates in the 22 by-elections holding this Saturday in some states of the federation.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu revealed this in a statement on Tuesday while swearing-in two new Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

While speaking during the swearing-in, Yakubu said; “The only exempted constituency for the substitution of candidates is Gamawa Federal Constituency in Bauchi State and Agwara State Constituency in Niger State where elections will be held without the candidates and parties that were declared winners in the general election.”

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