The Chairman , Independent National Electoral Commission , Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has predicted that Nigerian youths , with their population , could be the ones to determine the outcome of the 2019 general elections .
He also said apart from the 68 existing political parties, the commission was processing over 130 fresh applications from associations seeking to be registered as political parties.
He , however, said the country might end up with about 80 to 85 parties, and that if half of them nominated candidates , there might be about 46 ,000 candidates for the 2019 general elections .
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the management of Bayero University , Kano, which is hosting the INEC Youth Votes Count Campus Outreach Initiative , the INEC boss revealed that judging from the figures from the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, coupled with the voting pattern in the 2015 elections , Nigerian youths currently constitute a sizeable percentage of the total population of registered voters .
This, he said , could be a game changer in the 2019 polls.
At the programme , which was sponsored by the European Union and the third in the series, Yakubu also noted that in addition to the 70 million existing voters , 11 million voters had been registered since the exercise commenced in April 2017. He said that the exercise would be suspended on August 17 .
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary , Rotimi Oyekanmi , the INEC chairman was quoted as saying, “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 youths , meaning the young boys and girls between the ages of 18 and 35 . When we did the analysis of the 2015 presidential election results , youths also played a very important role .”
Also , speaking on the forthcoming September 22 governorship election in Osun State, Yakubu stated that the election would feature the highest number of contestants ( 48 ) in the history of governorship elections in Nigeria so far, above the 37 in Anambra state and 35 in Ekiti state .
The Vice-Chancellor of the institution , Prof Mohammed Bello , applauded the INEC boss for his leadership attributes .
The programme was designed to encourage youth participation in the electoral process , the statement noted .