Amidst the ongoing disagreement between the National Assembly and the Executive over the order of the 2019 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced comprehensive dates for general elections in the country for the next 36 years.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mamood Yakubu, who made the announcement at a consultative meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja on Wednesday 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.”
He continued: “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.”
He pointed out that in other democracies of the world, periods of elections are generally known and are not topics for speculation during each election periods.
Yakubu explained that the aim was to ensure certainty in the election calendar and also to allow for long-term planning by the commission and all stakeholders, in line with global best practices.
On the continuous registration of political parties, the chairman said that in the last one week, INEC had received 108 applications from associations seeking to be registered.
He said that 66 of the applications did not meet the initial requirements, while 33 passed and had proceeded to the next stage.
He said that nine others were at the final stage of registration.
The INEC boss commended political parties for the roles they played in the governorship and National Assembly by-elections in Anambra, which ensured that the exercises were crisis-free.
He urged all existing political parties yet to comply with all relevant sections of the constitutional requirements necessary for their existence, to do so.
He advised the parties to ensure rancour-free conventions and congresses ahead of 2019 and the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections later in the year.
“Internal party democracy is critical to the overall success of the elections and it helps to eliminate some protracted litigations.
“Less than a year to the 2019 general elections, there are still cases in courts challenging the nomination of candidates in the 2015 elections,’’ he said.
Yakubu urged the parties to support the commission in its quest to sanitise the voter register by drawing the attention of the umpire to any irregularity.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Mohammed Nalado, commended INEC for recognising political parties as partners.