The Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday in Abuja released the dates of general elections from 2019 to 2055.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu announced the elections date for the next 36 years at a meeting with the chairmen of political parties.
“In 2019, the dates are February 16 and March 2; in 2023, the dates are February 18 and March 4.
”In 2027, the dates are February 20 and March 6; in 2031, it is February 15 and March 1.
“In 2035, it is February 17 and March 3; in 2039, it is February 19 and March 5 and in 2043, it will hold on February 21 and March 7.
”In 2047, it is February 15 and March 2; in 2051, it is February 18 and March 1; in 2055, it is February 20 and March 6, Prof. Yakubu says.
According to the chief electoral umpire, in other developed democracies, the dates for elections were fixed.
He, therefore, states that it was time for Nigeria to follow suit.
He argues that the idea “is to engender certainty in our electoral calendar, allows for long term planning by the commission as well as stakeholders and brings our democracy in line with the best practice around the world.
”I am glad that this decision has received the overwhelming support of stakeholders, he adds.
The INEC Chairman while pleading with political parties to assist the commission in the process,vows that the commission would ensure that ineligible voters are removed from the register.
“The commission is determined to clean up the voter register of all ineligible registrants as provided for in section 12(1) of the electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
”We have displayed the list of all newly registered voters at the end of each of the three quarters of the exercise in 2017 at the various registration centres nationwide for claims and objections as required by law.
”We have also done the data consolidation and run the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) on all new registrants. We have carefully scrutinised the list, he adds.
Application for New Political Parties
Yakubu says the commission had received applications from 108 associations that wanted to be registered as political parties.
The INEC boss, however, revealed that 66 associations had failed the initial assessment and had been advised accordingly and none had responded so far.
“Thirty-three associations have passed the initial assessment and were formally advised to proceed to the next stage while nine associations are at the final stages of the process,” he says.
Ekiti and Osun governorship polls.
Yakubu appeals to political parties to ensure that proactive steps were taken to ensure free and fair primaries.
“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.
“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts, challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he says.
The political parties under the umbrella of Inter-Party Advisory Council commended the INEC boss for setting the dates for future elections, saying the organising and undertaking elections remained the exclusive preserve of INEC.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Alhaji Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.
He says that with little or no financial support, political parties were at the forefront of voter sensitisation to the need to conduct themselves responsibly at polling units.
Nalado also commended the commission for creating an enabling environment for free and fair elections by rolling out election calendar in good time.
He adds that the political parties were happy with the position of INEC on the sequence of elections, saying that the commission acted on the existing law.
”I think this is a constitutional issue. What INEC has done at the moment is based on what is in the provision of the constitution.
”If there is any law that supersedes what they have done, that law is not to be abandoned. So, we stand on the same page.
”So, we have to be working together, INEC, political parties and all the stakeholders in the democratic development, he says.
He welcomed the newly-registered political parties to IPAC and urged INEC to support the council’s plan to amend its code of conduct.
According to Nalado, the amendment will address issues of internal democracy, conflict resolution system among other issues affecting political parties in the country.
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