A video and several images circulating the media space has brought the public’s attention to underage Nigerians who allegedly participated in the suspended continuous voters registration exercise in the northern region of the country. While the video showed an underage undergoing the registration exercise, the images revealed pictures of underage children on the portal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as registered voters. In several viral tweets, many Nigerians have expressed concerns and called on the electoral body to address the issue. 

Why it matters 
INEC released a document outlining all its key findings from the suspended continuous voters registration exercise. The electoral body broke down the geopolitical regions with the most invalid registrations, of which South-east and south-south both led with a combined 49.3 percent. 

  • The volume of underage registrants from the northern region in INEC’s register has raised questions about the integrity of the electoral body.

The big picture 
The northern region of the country has prided itself as the most populous when compared to the south. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put the estimated population of Nigeria at 193,500,540 in 2016, with northern states having an estimated population of 100,894,453 people. These numbers have in previous elections reflected in elections, as the northwest holds the highest number of voters. 

  • The North West geopolitical zone (including Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Jigawa State) has the highest total of 22.27 million registered voters.
  • The north central is the third highest geopolitical zone with 15.33 million voters after second place southwest. The states in the north central are Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Kwara, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory. 

Looking forward
According to the video and picture circulating online, many concerned Nigerians have raised the question of whether these allegations of illegal registration contribute to the dominance of the north in elections. 

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