The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed the date for the next Presidential Election.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, had on Thursday during the inauguration of the Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution at the House of Representatives, stated that the next Presidential poll would hold on the second Saturday of February 2023.
He called for laws to allow electronic voting, stricter punishment and special court for electoral offences ahead of 2023.
“This is what happens in Ghana; every Ghanaian knows that every December 7 is Election Day. Every American knows that the first Tuesday of November of an election year is the Election Day. In Nigeria, it is the second Saturday of February in the election year. Therefore, when is the 2023 general election going to hold? It is the second Saturday of February of the election year. That means that from today till the 2023 presidential election, 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 presidential election is 855 days, you have a very limited time for the Constitution amendment.”
The INEC Chairman further called for the implementation of recommendations by various panels on political and electoral reforms.
“There must be a way, either by way of an amendment to the legal framework or the Constitution, to effectively penalise electoral offenders in this country. You cannot have a flourishing democracy in which laws are violated with impunity and nothing happens. So, there must be a mechanism by which they should be discouraged,” he said.
Speaking on the proposal electronic voting; Prof. Yakubu said; “Our election is too manual, too expensive, too cumbersome, too archaic. The process of collating results is sometimes chaotic but 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 a presidential election.”
He noted that Nigerians had witnessed improvement in the credibility of polls in the Edo and Ondo state elections with the recently introduced online real-time publication of results.
“So, the encumbrances to the full deployment of technology in the transmission of election results should be removed as part of this process,” the INEC boss stated.
Jonathan Dennis is an Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He oversees the production and publication of stories on NaijaBuzz.News and on Naija Buzz News TV. The former banker left his banking job to join Naija Buzz News in 2019. He was briefly the head of the “Wetin Dey Happen” news team. Jonathan is a proud ‘Akwa-Ibomite’ from Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria.