2023 GENERAL ELECTION TO HOLD FEBRUARY 18TH, 2023 _ YAKUBU
The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed Saturday, February 18 for the 2023 general elections in the country. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made this known on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 during a one-day public hearing on the National Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021, organised by the Senate Committee on INEC. He said, “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. Yakubu expressed concern over the delay in the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment bill pending before both chambers of the National Assembly. The bill was sponsored by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Kabiru Gaya and Senator Abubakar Kyari. He urged the Federal Parliament to expedite work on the proposed legislation to avoid any obstacle to the 2023 general elections. Yakubu said the commission was not yet clear or certain about the legal framework that would undergird the 2023 elections less than two years to the conduct of the poll. He said the timetable for the 2023 general elections would be released by the Commission immediately after the Anambra State governorship election in November 2021.
Yakubu said, “We will like to see more prosecution of offenders not just of ballot box snatchers and falsifiers of results of election, but most importantly, their sponsors. We look forward to the day when highly placed sponsors of thugs, including chieftains of political parties and candidates will be prosecuted. By doing so we believe that we will send an even bigger message. We believe that the committee on INEC in the Senate is on the right trajectory by going this far on the Electoral Offences Commission Bill. However, while we are excited by today’s public hearing, I will like to reiterate our appeal to the National Assembly for the expeditious passage of the Electoral Offences Commission Bill and the pending review of the Electoral Legal Framework generally. We are confident that the National Assembly will conclude work on the legal framework in earnest. The commission is anxious to know the legal framework to govern the conduct of the 2023 general elections. By the principle established by the commission, the 2023 general elections will hold on Saturday, 18th February, 2023, which is exactly one year, nine months, two weeks and six days away from today. We hope to release the timetable for the general elections immediately after the Anambra governorship election scheduled to hold on the 6th of November 2021. In order to do so, there should be clarity and certainty about the electoral legal framework to govern the 2023 general election. We are confident that the National Assembly will do the needful and to do so in earnest. INEC supports this bill and we commend the initiative of the sponsors of the bill and the commitment of the leadership and membership of the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage.”
He insisted that a law setting up an Electoral Offences Commission is long overdue. Yakubu said, “There is no doubt that INEC is saddled with a lot of responsibilities, actually so many – from the registration and regulation of political parties to conduct of elections, to registration of voters, delineation of constituencies, conduct of elections, bye-elections, referendum recall and the elections appear unending. Since the 2019 general elections, the commission has so far conducted 28 bye-elections in addition to four governorship elections. So the elections are unending. There is no election season in Nigeria any longer. It is election throughout the year and it is only one commission saddled with that responsibility. So it is important as we consider this bill to take into consideration, those enormous responsibilities that the commission discharges. It is not that the commission hasn’t done much or anything about the prosecution of electoral offenders. What have we done since the 2015 general elections? One hundred and twenty-four cases have been filed in court and are being prosecuted. So far, we have only achieved 60 convictions out of 124 cases including the latest one that we all know about in Akwa Ibom.”
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