Professor Yakubu Mahmood, the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that voter population projection for the 2019 general elections is put at 80million Nigerians just as he said that 91 political parties are fielding candidates for the election which is kicking off in February next year.
Mahmood also said there are 120,000 polling units, 8,809 wards where elections will be held in Nigeria, adding that the election will be held in 1,558 constituencies, one presidential constituency, 109 senatorial constituencies, 360 federal constituencies and 991 state constituencies and 68 area councils in the Federal capital territory, Abuja.
Mahmood, who was represented by the Akwa Ibom state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mike Igini, spoke in Asaba during the ongoing national conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) which commenced on Thursday, October 11, 2018.
The INEC chairman revealed that the fresh voter registration exercise which began on April 27, 2017 and ended on August 31, 2018 had 14,551,482 fresh registrations with a gender breakdown of 7,863,268 males and 6,688,214 females.
He said the election will be held in two phases, national which include presidential and national assembly to be held on February 16 while state which comprises governorship and house of assembly to be held on March 3, 2019.
He said beginning from Friday the 12th day of October 2018, there are 126 days to the commencement of the elections, noting that the elections will be opening at 8am on Saturday, February 16, 2019.
The INEC chairman told the Nigerian newspaper editors that the commission has conducted 190 elections from 2015 when the chairman was appointed, saying from the time under review, there has been fewer litigation challenging the outcome of the elections, and that no election has been upturned by the courts of law.
While saying that no political party in Nigeria has been able to produce credible number of card carrying members, he said Nigerian politicians should know that only one candidate will win at the end of the election into the various constituency seats.
He advised against the culture of do or die among politicians, saying such action among politicians is a threat to democracy. He said family members of most politicians have obtained visas and have gone outside the country, noting that politicians cannot say they are serving Nigerians while at the same time they are orchestrating the death of people they claim to serve.
He listed the do or die mentality of politicians, vote buying, incendiary speech, poor security among challenges confronting elections in Nigeria.
He called on media managers to educate voters on their how to exercise democratic rights, reporting on the development on election campaign, providing platform for political parties and candidates to communicate their messages to the electorate, allow candidates to debate with each other, reporting results and monitoring vote counting.