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2023: Youths will decide next leaders if they maximise their strength ― INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the youths could play a significant role in deciding the direction of the 2023 elections given their level of participation in the ongoing voters’ registration exercise across the country.

Citing the online registration of voters to buttress its claim, the electoral body said that out of the figure of 15.7 million that participated in the exercise, the youth population between the ages of 18 to 34 years old stood at 9.2 million.

The INEC Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, stated this in Ado-Ekiti at the Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Increasing Young voters Turnout organised by Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI).

Okoye, however, cautioned the youths that their efforts would come to nothing unless they do the right thing by making use of their PVC to vote during elections starting with the June 18 governorship poll.

According to him, “The youths will play a key role in the politics of 2023 if they do the needful. We create the online registration to target the youths, if you look at the figure for replacement of PVC, transfer of PVC and so on, the figure stands at 15.7 million out of which the figure for the youth population stands at 9.2 million.

“If you are looking for the completed registration, you will see that we have as of today 9.1 million out of which the youths between the ages of 18 to 34 years constitute 3.5 million. The implication is that of all those who have application and those who have completed the registration, the youths between the ages of 18 to 34 constitute over 70 per cent.

 “So if the youths played their part very well the 2023 election will be for them to decide. Based on this understanding, the INEC decided to create additional polling units, especially for those in the rural areas. After creating additional polling units to make voting seamless, a total of 176,846 polling units will be available for the 2023 elections.

“But all these figures I have reeled out will come to nothing unless the youths do the right thing by making use of their PVC. This is because, you can do all the registration but on Election Day, if you don’t go to the polling units, your registration is nothing.

“What the youth must do is to organize themselves, if not, their voice can’t be heard. They must also be informed and resist the negative mindset that my vote will not count; the election has been compromised by INEC and so on,” he added.

Earlier in his remarks, the Team Leader of Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), Bukola Idowu said the conference became necessary to encourage more youths’ participation in politics, noting that there is a need for them to take advantage of their numerical strength to effect change in the polity.

“We should all participate as citizens, especially youths If we don’t participate, then we don’t have any right to criticise those in government,” he said. 

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