The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed Saturday, February 16, as the date for the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections.
INEC also revealed that the governorship/state assembly/federal capital territory area council elections will hold on Saturday, March 2 of the year.
Solomon Soyebi, national commissioner in charge of south-west, disclosed this at a press briefing in Abuja.
“Our democracy is maturing and the commission believes that there should be certainty with regard to the timetable for elections. For instance, in the United States, general elections always hold on the second Tuesday of November in the election year,” Soyebi said.
“In Ghana, it’s the 7th of December of the election year, while in other places like Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Costa Rica and Switzerland, the dates are also known in advance.
“In Nigeria, the constitution provides for elections to hold not earlier than 150 days and not later than 30 days to the end of the incumbent’s tenure.
“In order to ensure certainty in our dates for elections, and to allow for proper planning by the commission, political parties, security agencies, candidates and all stakeholders, the commission has decided to fix the date for the national elections for the third Saturday in February of the election year, followed by state elections two weeks later.”
INEC also revealed that 23 electoral officers allegedly involved in malpractices surrounding the Rivers re-run had been charged to court.
“The commission has also received a report from the director of public prosecution (DPP) of the federation, informing us that 23 electoral officers indicted over the investigation into the December 10 Rivers Re-run elections have been charged to court,” he said.
“The commission has repeatedly said that it will cooperate with security agencies for the prosecution of any of our staff found to have violated the integrity of the electoral process.
“Accordingly, at our meeting today, the commission decided to apply the provisions of the INEC terms and conditions of service to all those charged to court, since it constitutes gross misconduct.
“The penalty for this is interdiction. All the 23 electoral officers will be placed on half salary and will not report for duty pending the determination of their respective cases by the court.