INEC to print 187 million ballot papers for presidential poll

In preparation for a credible 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it will print 187 million ballot papers.

Out of that number, 93.5 million ballot papers will be used on February 25 for the presidential election while the remaining 93.5 million ballot papers will be kept for a run-off if no clear winner emerges.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, made these known today at a Roundtable with Bureau Chiefs/ Editors in Abuja.

Okoye noted that same arrangement would be applicable to governorship and State Assembly elections.

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He explained that INEC decided to print that large number of ballot papers ahead of the elections to avoid issues of logistics and engaging printers at a short notice.

However, in the event of no run-off elections, INEC will destroy the 93 million ballots printed for the runoff after election petitions are disposed of.

Okoye explained that “This is because the law gives the Commission just 21 days within each to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a runoff election in case there is no winner.”

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In his words, “As of today, 18 political parties will participate in the 2023 general election and the law has outlined how candidates will emerge and how a presidential candidate will emerge in Nigeria. Because of the limited time on the Commission and by the law; in case a candidate does not emerge from the first ballot, the Commission prints ballots for run-off elections when we are printing ballots for the main election. In other words, if 93 million Nigerians are on the ballot for the presidential election, we will print 93 million ballots for the first election and at the same time, print 93 million ballots for the run-off election in case a winner does not emerge from the first ballot.”

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The INEC National Commissioner also revealed that preliminary registered voters in Nigeria currently stands at 93.5 million, as 9,518,188 new voters were added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters.

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