Nigerian candidate makes misleading claim about voter card collection in Lagos

The governorship candidate of the opposition Labour Party in Lagos state claimed that more than six million people in Lagos collected new permanent voters’ cards (PVC) ahead of the general election on February 25, 2023. But the claim is misleading: figures published by the country’s electoral body show that less than a million new voting cards were delivered to the state as of January 2023. The figure of six million is a cumulative one.

“Over 6m Nigerians in Lagos collected their PVCs, if we add it to those who had PVCs previously, we can say Lagos is a FORCE in this 2023 elections (sic),”Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour wrote on Twitter on the eve of the presidential ballot.

The post was retweeted more than 4,000 times in less than 24 hours.

A screenshot of the misleading tweet, taken on February 25, 2023.

The Labour Party's presidential candidate Peter Obi is one of the frontrunners in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who will after eight years step down on May 29, 2023.

Nigeria has 93,469,008 registered voters but only 87.2 million with voting cards are eligible to participate in the elections across the country, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

With about 8 percent of the total population of voters, Lagos remains the state with the highest number of registered voters in the country.

But Rhodes-Vivour's claim that six million citizens in Lagos state recently collected their PVC specifically ahead of the 2023 general elections is misleading.

Cumulative data

Lagos had about 6.5 million registered voters in the 2019 elections. Prior to that, more than 5.6 million had PVCs.

On October 26, 2022, INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu announced that about 9.5 million new voters were added to the existing voter registry nationwide.

Of that number, 940,200 permanent voter’s cards were delivered to Lagos for “both new registrants and requests for transfer and replacement of cards”, Yakubu said in an update on January 27, 2023.

“As of yesterday Thursday 26th January 2023, 839,720 PVCs have been collected, representing 89.3% of the total figure [for Lagos],” Yakubu added.

The latest figures published by INEC on February 23, 2023, showed that the cumulative figure for all voters with PVCs in the state stood at 6,214,970, with 845,225 cards still uncollected.