• The Commission moves the presidential election to February 25 in a new calendar

  • Electronic transmission of results possible in more than 176,000 locations, asys Yakubu

the The Independent National Electoral Commission announced a new timetable for the 2023 general elections on Saturday.

According to the full timetable and calendar of activities for the 2023 general elections published by the commission in Abuja, the presidential and National Assembly elections would now be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023, up from the previously announced February 18, 2023, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections would be held on March 11, 2023.

The chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, during a press briefing in Abuja, explained that the change was informed by the recently signed electoral law.

Yakubu explained that the new dates were to comply with the provisions of the electoral law, which stipulated that the notice of elections must be published at least 360 days before the elections.

The INEC decision came just 24 hours after the signing of the Election Law 2022 Amendment Bill by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired).

The president signed the bill 25 days after receiving the reworked bill from the National Assembly.

The president’s delay in taking a stand has generated anxiety and drawn widespread criticism.

Yakubu said on Saturday that the INEC could not release the detailed schedule and schedule of activities for the general elections, as it normally would, due to the impending enactment of the 2022 Election Law, until it is signed into law by the president on Friday.

He said, “The Elections Act 2022, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), provides the legal basis for the holding of all elections in Nigeria.

“In particular, the electoral law provides strict deadlines for the implementation of electoral activities depending on the date of the general elections.

“One of the important deadlines is the publication of the notice of election no later than 360 days before the day fixed for holding an election which has now expired for the general election of 2023.

“As a result, the commission has decided to adjust the dates of the 2023 general elections to ensure compliance with the provisions of the new law.

“As a result, presidential and National Assembly elections will now be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023 while gubernatorial and state House of Assembly elections will be held two weeks later on Saturday, March 11, 2023. With this adjustment , the 2023 general election is now 363 days away.

“Under the law, there are critical time-limited activities, from the publication of the election notice to the conduct of the polls, which form the timing and schedule of activities for the elections.”

Yakubu stressed that the slight date changes for the 2023 elections would not increase the cost of conducting the 2023 general elections.

With the new electoral law, the CENI president added that the results of the 2023 general elections would be transmitted electronically.

While answering questions from reporters, Yakubu said that from the pilot conducted regarding the transmission of results to its results viewing portal, the commission has the ability to transmit results electronically.

He said, “Since the pilot project we conducted regarding the transmission of results to our IREV portal, we have covered every nook and cranny of Nigeria and we have no challenges whether in remote areas or the urban areas.

“It has convinced us that we can transmit election results simply by uploading polling station results from over 176,000 locations nationwide.

“Therefore, we are encouraged by the pilot we have conducted that we have the ability to transmit results from polling stations nationwide.”

Yakubu, however, said the commission was working with stakeholders to ensure it improves transparent transmission processes with the signing of the new election law.

The INEC President said that with the new dates, campaigning for the Presidential and National Assembly elections by political parties will now start on Wednesday, September 28, 2022.

Yakubu said the election notice would be released on Monday, while the conduct of the party’s primaries, including the resolution of any disputes arising therefrom, will take place between April 4 and June 3, 2022.

The INEC boss added that the submission of INEC nomination forms through the online portal for the Presidential and National Assembly elections would start at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 10, 2022 and end at 6 p.m. hours on Friday, June 17, 2022.

He added, “Submission of nomination forms to INEC through the online nomination portal for gubernatorial and state assembly elections is from 9 a.m. Friday, July 1, 2022 to 6 p.m. Friday July 15, 2022.

“The start of the political party campaign for the presidential and legislative elections will be Wednesday, September 28, 2022.

“The start of political party campaigning for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections will begin on Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

“The last day of campaigning by political parties for the presidential and legislative elections will be Thursday, February 23, 2023 at midnight.

“The last day of political party campaigning for the gubernatorial and state assembly elections will be midnight on Thursday, March 9, 2023.”

He said that with the entry into force of the Elections Act 2022, the commission would work diligently to conclude and issue new regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections in accordance with the law.

“These regulations and guidelines as well as the manuals issued by the commission are all part of the legal regulatory framework for elections.

“Their timely publication will allow all stakeholders in the electoral process to familiarize themselves with their provisions as they prepare for the 2023 general elections.

“On this note, I wish to remind stakeholders, especially political parties, of their responsibility to strictly adhere to the deadlines of this calendar and program of activities, as well as all other deadlines established by the commission,” he said. he adds.

CENI President said there is a need for all political parties to comply with the existing legal framework, ensure proper organization and management of party primaries and nomination of qualified candidates to avoid unnecessary litigation and rancor .

He warned politicians and political parties against campaigning before the appointed time.

Speaking on whether the INEC would sanction errant candidates who start the campaign before the dates, he said yes.

He said: ‘It’s not just a matter of election law, it’s a constitutional provision that there is a time limit for the start of the campaign which is 150 days before the election and there is also a period for the end of the campaign, which is 24 days. hours before the election.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to draw the attention of political parties and candidates to the fact that the law provides specific and definitive provisions for the commencement and termination of campaigns and that all Nigerians are bound to abide by the provisions of the law, including political parties and candidates.

“We will hold a meeting with all parties to discuss not only the issue of the campaign, but all other issues that require the attention of political parties, as provided for in the electoral law.”

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