The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced that it will produce a total of 187 million ballots for the general election of 2023, which is less than 100 days away.
Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, informed the public of this on Friday.
At a Roundtable with Bureau Chiefs/Editors in Abuja, Okoye stated that 93.5 million ballots will be utilised for the presidential election on February 25, 2023, and the remaining 93.5 million ballots will be used for the run-off election if there is a tie.
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The National Commissioner argued that the Commission decided to print 187 million ballot papers for the presidential elections, as it will be difficult to engage printers at a short notice and also the issue of logistics.
Okoye said, “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 (second election) when we are printing ballots for the main election. In other words, if 93million Nigerians are on the ballot for the presidential election, we will print 93million ballots for the first election and at the same time, print 93million ballots for the run-off election in case a winner does not emerge from the first ballot.
“If at the end of the day, there is no runoff, when election petitions are disposed of, the Commission will destroy the 93million ballots printed for the runoff. 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.
“Moreover, as of the time of the conduct of the Presidential election, the governorship elections and State Assembly elections are still pending. So for the governorship election, the Commission will print at least run-off ballots for four governorship elections in case we have challenges in terms of a winner not emerging in the first ballot in some of the states of the federation.”