Onyekachi Eze, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said voter turnout in the country has been on downward swing over the last two electoral cycles.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at a consultative meeting with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Abuja on Tuesday said the Commission recorded as low as 8.3 per cent voter turnout in an election conducted in an urban constituency with over 1.2 million registered voters.
According to him, the average voter turnout during elections across the country recorded of recent by INEC was between 30 to 35 per cent.
“This unfavourably compares to the average voter turnout of 65-70 per cent in other countries, even in the West Africa region,” Prof. Yakubu stated.
He blamed this on number of factors including inadequate voter and civic education, ineffective voter mobilisation, fear of violence during elections, unfulfilled campaign promises by elected officials and low public trust in state institutions.
He, however, noted that countries with higher percentages of voter turnout during elections have adequate and convenient voting locations for eligible voters, which, he added were periodically adjusted to reflect increase in voter population.
Prof. Yakubu regretted that the nation’s present 119,973 polling units were made to serve 84,004,084 voters, instead of a projected population of 50 million voters in 1996 when they were created.