Photo Credit: NAN
To ensure certainty in election calendar in the country and to meet up with global electoral best practices, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Wednesday disclosed a 36-years general elections dates to be used in Nigeria, with effect from 2019.
With the new directive, Nigerians will be aware of all general elections dates to be held in the country till the year 2055.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mamood Yakubu, who made this known during a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja, stated that the days of keeping Nigerians in the dark over elections dates are over.
According to him, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation in countries with advanced democracies, hence the need for Nigeria to toe similar path to keep pace with global practices.
Explaining advantages of the new directive, the INEC boss stated that such measure would allow the Commission and other relevant stakeholders to make long-term preparation for future elections in the country.
He said: “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.”
Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman has stated that he is unperturbed by recent criticisms in some quarters against the electoral body, boasting that he cannot be cowed by anyone.
CRISPNG recalls that INEC has come under attacks from some personalities in the country following alleged cases of under-age voting in some states and accusations by politicians that the Commission could not be trusted to conduct free and fair elections.
But speaking with The Interview, Yakubu said such allegations would not stop him from discharging his constitutional duties.
According to him, “I have passed the stage where someone can intimidate me to do what is wrong.
“I have passed that stage, where I can be intimidated, with due respect. And the real test is in what we have done (178 ‘mini’ elections) so far. The most interesting thing for me is that both parties accuse us equally. So, that means we are doing something right.”
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to deliver in 2019.
He said: “We know that poorly conducted elections are a recipe for disaster… we will never tread that path.”
Commenting on the alleged underage voting in Kano, Yakubu quipped: “These are elections that are not the legal and constitutional responsibilities of INEC. There are legal entities that conduct local and government elections in this country.
“So, on what basis are we going to prosecute electoral offenders in an election in which INEC is not legally responsible for?”