As earlier reported by LEADERSHIP Newspaper’s investigative reporter and Editor, Sunday Isuwa, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shifted the dates for the conduct of the 2023 polls following the signing of the electoral bill by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Isuwa reported in LEADERSHIP Friday 18/02/2023 that: “INEC May Shift 2023 Polls If PMB Signs Electoral Bill After Tuesday.”
According to the report, if president Muhammadu Buhari signed the electoral act amendment bill 2022 after February 22, 2022, the 2023 general elections would be shifted.
According to the report, “Indications have emerged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have to postpone the scheduled conduct of the 2023 general elections if President Muhammadu Buhari acts on the electoral bill sent to him after February 22, 2022.
“LEADERSHIP Friday reports that immediately after the 2019 general elections, INEC, which is the electoral umpire empowered by law to fix dates of elections, scheduled the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections for February 18, 2023.
“But barely a year to the presidential election, INEC is yet to issue guidelines for the conduct of the election on the ground that it is waiting for a new electoral act,” he said.
“According to Section 28 (1) of the Electoral Bill 2022, INEC is required to issue a notice of election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for an election.
“INEC had already scheduled the 2023 presidential and National Assembly election for February 18, 2023.
LEADERSHIP Friday reports that the Electoral Bill 2022 stipulates that the deadline for INEC to issue the notice of election for the 2023 general election is February 22, 2022,” part of the Isuwa’s report reads.
Consequently, following the signing of the electoral bill on Friday, 25 February, 2022 by President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC has rescheduled the dates for the 2023 general elections.
The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, told journalists on Saturday, 26/02/2022 that the Commission has decided to adjust the dates of the 2023 general election to ensure compliance with the provisions of the new law.
“Accordingly, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023. With this adjustment, the 2023 General Election is now 363 days away,” Yakubu said.
According to Yakubu, under the law, there are critical timebound activities from the publication of notice of election to the conduct of polls which form the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for elections.
“Some of the critical activities and their dates of implementation are as follows:
i. Publication of Notice of Election – Monday 28th February 2022.
ii. Conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from them – Monday 4th April 2022 to Friday 3rd June 2022.
iii. Submission of nomination forms to INEC via the online portal for Presidential and National Assembly election – 9.00am on Friday 10th June 2022 to 6.00pm on Friday 17th June 2022.
iv. Submission of nomination forms to INEC via the online nomination portal for Governorship and State Assembly elections – 9.00am on Friday 1st July 2022 to 6.00pm on Friday 15th July 2022.
v. Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly election – Wednesday 28th September 2022.
vi. Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – Wednesday 12th October 2022.
vii. Last day of campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 23rd February 2023.
viii. Last day of campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 9th March 2023.
“The detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election will be circulated to the media at the end of this briefing.
“Soft copies will also be uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms immediately. In addition, the Notice of Election will be published in our offices in all the States of the Federation as required by law on Monday 28th February 2022.
“With the coming into force of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission will work assiduously to conclude and publish new Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections that are consistent with the Act. These Regulations and Guidelines as well as Manuals issued by the Commission are all part of the legal regulatory framework for elections. Their timely publication will enable all stakeholders in the electoral process to become conversant with their provisions as they prepare for the 2023 General Election.
“On this note, I wish to remind stakeholders, especially the political parties, of their responsibility to adhere strictly to the timelines in this Timetable and Schedule of Activities, as well as all other timelines established by the Commission. It is necessary that all political parties comply with the extant legal framework, ensure proper organisation and management of party primaries and the nomination of qualified candidates in order to prevent unnecessary litigations and rancour, ” Yakubu added.
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