Today, there are 96,303,028 registered voters in Nigeria, according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 84,004,084 registered voters were recorded in 2019 while the just ‘concluded’ Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) shows that another 12,298,944 Nigerians have been added to INEC voter register database. The CVR began in June 2021 till July 31, 2022.
Most Nigerian citizens over the age of 18 are entitled to vote in local, state, and federal elections, but the main attention of the country is always beamed at the presidential election.
This is because the quality of the leader occupying the Office of The President goes a long way in solving the economic, technological, social, and monetary deficits of the most populous African country.
Elections are not just won. There are lots of factors that come into play such as support from each state, the population of a state, the number of registered voters, the number of registered voters who collected their Permanent Voter Card (PVC), internal party crisis, and recently, religion sentiments playing a huge role among others.
Considering all these factors, this post X-rays the geopolitical zone with the highest voting power in Nigeria according to data released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) pre-2019 general elections. INEC is Nigeria’s electoral umpire.
If you’re wondering why regions matter in a general election, the reasons for the creation of six geopolitical zones by the regime of Nigeria’s former military dictator Gen. Sanni Abacha may interest you.
PVCs Collected Before 2019 Elections
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the electoral umpire made available the breakdown of how Permanent Voter Cards were collected.
The Permanent Voters Card (PVC) stores information such as biometric data and enables registered voters to cast their vote on Election Day. The information on the PVCs are electronically programmed and can only be assessed with INEC card reader on the day of the election.
Out of 84,004,084 registered voters in 2019, 72,775,502 people collected their voter cards as of February 11, 2019, while the number of people who failed to collect their PVC was put at 11,228,582.
Two major election decider states in Nigeria: Lagos and Kano slug it by their population vis a vis the number of people who made the effort to collect their PVC.
5,531,389 people collected their PVC out of 6,570,291 who registered as voters in Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos, representing 84.19% collection rate.
The Northern commercial centre, Kano, has an 86.06% collection rate. It had 5,457,747 registered voters out of which 4,696,747 people collected their voter cards, according to INEC data.
Voting Strength of States in Nigeria By Geopolitical Zone:
The largest geopolitical zone by the number of states, the North-West, which compromises Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kaduna, and the Zamfara States have the highest voting strength during the presidential election.
In 2019, the North-West had the highest number of PVC collected at 18,231,193. It recorded 1,926,907 uncollected voter cards.
The region is most likely to main that voting power in the 2023 elections even as the entire region is battling with the spate of insecurity fueled by terrorism and banditry.
The Northwest also leads in the just concluded CVR with 2,514,273 residents of the region who completed the new voter registration which ended July 31, 2022, ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
The South-South region comes second with 2,458,095 completed voter registration according to the updated data released by INEC at 7 AM on Monday, August 1, 2022. 11,120,948 PVCs were collected in the region in 2019.
In the third position is the North-Central (Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Plateau States, plus the Federal Capital Territory), where 10,540,893 electorates collected their PVC in 2019. The region is No. 3 by the number of completed registration in CVR with new 2,314,368.
South-West which had the second PVC collection rate in 2019 at 12,814,246 is currently in the 4th position in terms of a region that completed the CVR. Though Lagos state has the highest completion registration at 585,629. The geopolitical zone with the 4th highest voting power in 2019 was North-Central, followed by the North East and the South-East.
The geopolitical zone with the 4th highest voting power in 2019 was North-Central, followed by the North East and the South-East.
Specifically, the South-East which has the lowest number of states in Nigeria comprising Abia, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, and Anambra, recorded 8,590,420 in 2019 general elections.
In the Continuous Voter Registration which is expected to come to an end on July 31, 2022, the South-East has recorded the least of completed registration, standing at 1,261,669.
Three things may be responsible for this trend: 1) the sit-at-home declared by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), 2) insecurity and killings by criminal elements in the region, and 3) the migration of the business-minded people of the region.
Most of them can be found in major cities across Nigeria such as Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, and other areas in their large number across Nigeria.
Politically, it means a lot as we approach the crucial 2023 general election because even if the current number of completed registration is added to the existing number of PVC collected in the region, the southeast region still remains at the bottom of the table by their voting power.
That is if all those who completed their PVC registration were able to collect their PVC which is most unlikely due to some challenges.
Number of Uncollected/Collected PVC in South-East as of February 11, 2019
|State||Registered Voters||Collected PVC||Uncollected PVC|
Anambra state has the highest voting strength in the Southeast. In the 2023 presidential elections, one of the sons of the soil and the former governor of the state Mr Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) will be slugging it out with two major players in the political space since 1993.
If the IPOB and other violent groups in the state allow peace to reign in the region, Obi might see a huge number of votes from that part of the country. But that might just be the half of votes from the North-West geopolitical zone.
The state with the lowest voting power in the Southeast is Ebonyi, according to data from INEC in 2019 election.
PVC Collected in Norther-East
|State||Registered Voters||Collected PVC||Abandoned PVC|
Bauchi state has the highest voting strength in the North-East in terms of the number of people who collected their PVC in 2019, followed by Borno State, despite the insurgency that nearly swallowed the once peaceful Northern states.
But the political dynamics might change in the 2023 elections. The same region presented the presidential candidates of Nigeria’s two major political parties: Alh. Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a former Vice President from 1999 to 2007 and Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressive Congress (APC) and a former governor of Lagos State.
Interestingly, Tinubu’s running mate is also a Muslim from the Northeast region, Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State. Politically, the ethnic and religious sentiments are going to come into play in that part and most likely in other parts of the country.
Voting Power of North Central
|State||Registered Voters||Collected PVC||Uncollected Voter Card|
Benue state has the highest voting power in North-Central by the number of Permanent Voter Card followed by Niger State. The Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has the least.
Sadly, most of the states in the region are battling with one form of insecurity including the FCT. Abuja has experienced several attacks in recent times, including an attack on the Presidential Guards Brigade by terrorists.
|State||Registered Voters||Collected Voter Card||Uncollected Card|
The voting strength of oil-rich Rivers State is X3 more than Bayelsa which has the least in the region by the number of voter cards that were collected in 2019. We’re only going to see a slight change in that number by the time the voter card registration is pulsed ahead of the 2023 elections.
Delta is another state in the south-south politicians don’t joke with because of their number and the rate of collection of PVC. Interestingly, Atiku Abubakar picked his running mate from the state Ifeanyi Okowa, the incumbent governor of Delta state.
The choice of Okoya is against the expectation of Rivers governor Nyesom Wike who came second during the party’s primary election held on May 27, 2022.
|State||Registered Voters||No. of Voter cards collected||Uncollected PVC|
By land mass, Lagos is the smallest state in Nigeria, yet, the second most populated state in Nigeria, according to data from the Lagos State Government and 2019 by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Interestingly, the voting power of Lagos is unequalled in the Southwest region, followed by Oyo State. The lowest voting strength is Ekiti State. The candidate of APC presidential candidate in 2023 elections, Ahmed Tinubu, is a powerful voice in the region. He is under condemnation by the opposition for choosing a Muslim as a running mate in the forthcoming election.
North-West PVC Collection Rate
The North-West is the largest zone by population in Nigeria. In terms of voting strength, the region is always boastful of its power to be the major decider of who wins the presidential election in Nigeria.
Recently, leaders from the North-West region boasted that it produced 39% of votes of the votes the APC recorded in the 2019 and 2015 presidential elections. The zone also has the highest number of states in Nigeria
So, by INEC data on the PVC collection rates, let’s see how the region with the voting power fair
|State||Registered Voters||Voter cards collected||Uncollected PVC|
List of Registered Voters in Nigeria (June 202 to July 2022)
The table below as of Monday, August 1, 2022, from INEC shows the completed voter registration from the 36 states including the FCT in the just concluded Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) which began in June 2021.
The data focuses on the number of people who completed the process either online or in-person.
The figure here means another set of people across the country is interested in getting their PVC. This figure will be added to the existing figure of Nigerians who have collected their PVC in 2019. The statistics by states:
By Geopolitical Figure
|Zone||No of completed CVR|
The age distribution of 12,298,944 Nigerians who completed voter registration between June 2021 till July 31, 2022, is shown in the table below:
|Age||No of Voters registered|
|18 to 34 years old||8,784,677|
|35 to 49 years old||2,430,709|
|50 to 69 years old||956,017|
|70 years old and above||127,541|
And what’s their occupation?
|Occupation||No of registered voters|
who completed their registration
5 States with Highest Registered Voters
By 2019 and 2022 data ended Sunday, July 31, 2022, five Nigerian states lead in the total number of registered voters that will have the chance to cast their vote in the 2023 General Elections.
Lagos State has the overall highest number of registered voters from the two registrations combined, totalling 7,155,920 registered voters in the commercial capital city of the country.
The second in this category is Kano State, with 5,457,747 in 2019 and 569,103 in 2022, the Northern commercial state will be going into the 2023 elections with 6,026,850 voters whose data have been confirmed by the electoral umpire.
In the third position is another Northwestern state, Kaduna with 4,411,723 registered voters, followed by the oil-rich South-South state of Rivers with 3,689,197 combined registered voters in 2019 and 2022.
Katsina State occupies the fifth position. It recorded 3,230,230 registered voters in 2019 and just added a fresh 340,510, bringing the number to 3,570,740 registered voters.
This means three North Western states – Kano, Kaduna, and Katsina – make the list of top five Nigerian states with the highest number of registered voters.
On the contrary, Ekiti has the lowest number of INEC registered voters in Nigeria. It had 909,967 in 2019 and just added a fresh 124,844, totalling 1,034,811 registered voters.
Attitude on Election Day
However, the rate of PVC collected did not commensurate with the number of people that came out to cast their vote in the last election. This means a lot of people collected the INEC voter card for other purposes such as identity purposes rather than for election.
It is hoped that the voters’ attitude to the election is likely to improve slightly in the 2023 elections, thanks to the Electoral Act, of 2022. Electorally, the Act has improved a lot of things such as the electronic transmission of election results, this reduced the occurrences of hijacking of election materials after casting of votes in Ekiti and Osun states.
The new Electoral Act 2022 is expected to reinforce the confidence of the Nigerian people in the electoral umpire that their voices matter. But they must also ensure to take steps that would make their vote count.
The 2023 general election just like every election is crucial for Nigeria. The country needs a committed servant who can put religious, and ethnic sentiment aside and deliver it from its present economic comatose and security challenges.
By INEC data, the Northwest zone has the highest number of registered voters in Nigeria. The 7-state geopolitical zone has 22,672,393 registered voters followed by the Southwest which has 18,332,194 combined registered voters (2019 and 2022).
In the third position is the South-South geopolitical zone with 15,299,374 registered voters. North-Central comes in the fourth position with 13,199,983 residents whose data have been confirmed by the electoral umpire.
North-East and South-East are 5th and 6th with 12,820,363 and 11,498,286 registered voters.
This means 96,303,028 Nigerian registered voters will exercise their right to cast their vote in 2023 general elections.
How many Nigerians are eligible to vote in the 2023 general elections?
Nigerians who are 18 and above can vote, however, only 96,303,028 registered voters can cast their vote if they collected their Permanent Voter Card (PVC). Registering isn’t enough, only those who registered and collected their PVC can vote.
Which state has the highest number of eligible voters in Nigeria?
Lagos State has the highest number of registered voters in both 2019 and 2022. Lagos currently has 7,155,920 registered voters.
Which geopolitical zone in Nigeria has the highest number of qualified voters?
North-West has the highest number of registered voters with 22,672,393. Northwestern states are Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kaduna, and the Zamfara.
Can I still register for INEC voter card?
Yes. However, Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) has been put on hold till after the 2023 general elections. The CVR ended temporarily on July 31, 2022, to allow INEC to collate and perfect preparation for the upcoming elections.
How many Nigerians registered on INEC voter portal June 2021 to July 2022?
10,487,972 Nigerians registered on the INEC voter registration portal within a year.
How many potential voters completed the online registration process?
Out of over 10 million that started the process, only 3,444,378 Nigerians completed the process successfully. This means 7,043,594 people failed to complete the registration process.
I registered for PVC in Ibadan, can I register again in Port Harcourt where I reside now?
If you registered twice, both registration will be void. The best thing to do when you relocate is to update your data on the INEC portal and apply for the transfer of your PVC to your new location or address.
How many registered voters did Nigeria have in 2019 elections?
There were 84,004,084 registered voters for Nigeria’s 2019 elections. 72,775,502 people collected their PVC before the election.
- Featured Image by INEC
- Channels Television (February 21, 2019). “Full List Of PVCs Collected By States – Lagos, Kano Top List”. channelstv.com
- INEC Nigeria (August 1, 2022). “CVR Update: Quarter 4, WK 16 as at 7am, Monday 1st August 2022”. twitter.com/inecnigeria
- Independent National Electoral Commission. “Permanent Voters Card (PVC)”. inecnigeria.org