INEC chair announces February 18, 2023 as presidential election date

• Advocates for e-voting, says manual election is too expensive

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu on Thursday disclosed that the 2023 Presidential election would hold on Saturday, February 18, 2023, saying that election remains 855 days ahead.

The INEC Chairman, who announced this at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Special Ad-hoc Committee on 1999 Constitution review, underscored the need to remove all encumbrances militating against electronic voting.

Prof. Yakubu also tasked the National Assembly on the need to fast-track the passage of the Electoral Act ahead of the election year.

“According to him, There must be a way either by way of an amendment to the constitution to effectively penalize electoral offenders in the country.

“You cannot have a flourishing democracy in which laws are violated with impunity and nothing is done about that.

“That is why we must have an electoral offences tribunal. This has been recommended by several commissions and election observers. It was recommended by the Justice Uwais Commission.

“I must commend the role of the National Assembly, especially the Deputy President of the Senate for championing the enactment of the Electoral Offences Tribunal.

“We have to also address our electoral process which is manual. It is too expensive and cumbersome.

“The process of collating result is sometimes chaotic because the law says that you must write results manually and collate them manually right from the polling unit to the ward, from the ward to the local government, then the state and from the state to the national level in the case of the Presidential election.

“A lot has been achieved aboard with a simple application of technology. So, the encumbrances to the deployment of technology in the transmission of election results should be removed as part of this process.

“Before the 2018 general election, the Commission came up with a statement of principle based on its power to fix a timetable for election and said that Presidential elections in Nigeria will be held on the third Saturday of February of the election year.

“That was how we arrived at the date of the election of 2019. This is what happens in Ghana and every Ghanaian know that every December 7 is their presidential election. Every American knows that the date of their Presidential election. In Nigeria, the third Saturday of February in the election year is the election date.

“Therefore, when is the 2023 general election going to hold? It will hold on the third Saturday of February of the election year which is the 18th of February 2023. That means that from today till the 2023 general elections, we have exactly 855 days.

“I am not reminding members of the National Assembly that their tenure will soon end. But the truth is that there has to be certainty of tenure. Between election and inauguration, there is time. So, between now and the next general election is 855 days,” he told the lawmakers.

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