The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday 18th February 2023 as the date Nigerians would troop out polling units across the country to elect President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
It explained that the biggest electoral exercise in the country would hold exactly one year, nine months, two weeks, and six days from Wednesday (today).
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said that the electoral umpire would release the general election timetable after the Anambra Governorship election scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021.
Speaking on Wednesday during a one-day public hearing on the National Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021, organized by the Senate Committee on INEC, the commission boss said that the decision was reached following in-house consultations with relevant stakeholders for the strategic programme of action that would cover the next election cycle of five years starting from 2022-2026.
According to him, by the principle established by the Commission, the 2023 General Election will hold on Saturday 18th February 2023 which is exactly one year, nine months, two weeks and six days or 660 days from today.
“We hope to release the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the General Election immediately after the Anambra Governorship election scheduled to hold on 6th November 2021.
“In order to do so, there should be clarity and certainty about the electoral legal framework to govern the election. We are confident that the National Assembly will do the needful in earnest,” he said.
Yakubu noted that one of the numerous responsibilities carried out by the commission was the prosecution of electoral offenders, describing it as the most challenging duty for INEC.
He lamented the delay in the prosecution of electoral offenders has been one of the most challenging tasks for the commission since its establishment.
He added, “For instance, since the 2015 general election, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.
“The commission would like to see more successful prosecution of offenders, not just of ballot box snatchers and falsifiers of election results but most importantly their sponsors.
“We look forward to the day when highly placed sponsors of thuggery, including party chieftains and candidates that seek to benefit from violations of the law, are apprehended. We believe that the work of the proposed Commission will help in this regard.”