INEC Announces New Dates for 2023 General Elections

INEC Announces New Dates for 2023 General Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced fresh dates for the conduct of 2023 general elections in order to align the elections with timelines set in the newly signed Electoral Amendment Act 2022. The Presidential and National Assembly Elections will now hold on Saturday 25th February 2023, to be followed by the Governorship and

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced fresh dates for the conduct of 2023 general elections in order to align the elections with timelines set in the newly signed Electoral Amendment Act 2022.

The Presidential and National Assembly Elections will now hold on Saturday 25th February 2023, to be followed by the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March 2023.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who announced the new dates at a briefing in Abuja on Saturday, said the shift in the earlier proposed dates was to enable the Commission to comply with the brand-new Electoral Act 2022.

The Commission had, back in 2017, established fixed dates for General Elections in Nigeria in its determination to create certainty in the electoral calendar and to enable all stakeholders in the electoral process to prepare adequately for elections.

Prof. Yakubu recalled that by with that decision, it was established that Presidential and National Assembly elections shall hold on the third Saturday of February of each General Election year, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections shall follow two weeks later.

Based on this principle, the 2023 General Election had earlier been scheduled to commence on Saturday 18th February 2023. “However, the Commission could not release the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the General election as it normally would, because of the pending enactment of the Electoral Act 2022, the Bill has now been signed into law.”

According to the INEC Chairman: “Therefore, the Electoral Act 2022, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), form the legal basis for conducting all elections in Nigeria. In particular, the Electoral Act provides strict timelines for the implementation of electoral activities based on the date of the General Election. One of the significant timelines is the publication of Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for holding an election which has now lapsed for the 2023 General Election.

He continued: “Consequently, 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.

The time-table leading to the holding of the 2023 general election is as follows:

• Publication of Notice of Election – Monday 28th February 2022.
• Conduct of party primaries, including the resolution of disputes arising from them – Monday 4thApril 2022 to Friday 3rd June 2022.
• 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.
• 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.
• Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly election – Wednesday 28th September 2022.
• Commencement of Campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – Wednesday 12th October 2022.
• Last day of campaign by political parties for Presidential and National Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 23rd February 2023.
• Last day of campaign by political parties for Governorship and State Assembly elections – midnight on Thursday 9th March 2023.

The INEC Chairman said the Notice of Election would be published in the Commission’s offices in all states of the federation on Monday 28th February.

He averred: “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 going to be 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.”

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
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