Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has announced that the 2023 presidential election would hold on February 18, 2023.
The Commission boss, who made the disclosure, yesterday, at the inauguration of the House of Representatives Special Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), urged the National Assembly to come up with the necessary legislation to create an Electoral Offences Tribunal.
He also charged the legislature to remove all encumbrances to the full deployment of technology in the conduct of elections in the country.
“There must be a way either by amendment to the Electoral Act or the Constitution to give effect to the Electoral Offences Tribunal. You can’t have a flourishing democracy in which laws.” .”are violated with impunity and nothing happens. So there must be a mechanism by which this must be addressed. “
The INEC boss further noted: “Our elections is too manual , too expensive, too cumbersome. Too archaic. The law says we must write the results manually, collate them manually from the unit level to the wards to the local governments, to the state and the National in terms of presidential election… The encumbrance to the deployment of full technology in elections should be removed.”
Yakubu said before 2015 general elections, INEC came out with general principle that election would be held on the second Saturday in February.
According to him, such is the practice in the U.S. and Ghana where they have a fixed day for their elections.
“Going by this decision, from today we will have 855 days to the general election; so we have very limited time for the constitutional review,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said the many efforts of the National Assembly to alter the 1999 Constitution have not been waste of time and resources, contrary to views in certain quarters.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the country’s constitution is still a work in progress.
He added that it is only through the implementation of the Constitution that the weaknesses can be identified and addressed.
Osinbajo, while pledging the support of the executive arm of government to efforts of the National Assembly to alter the constitution, urged the Committee not to discountenance any proposal.
Furthermore, the Vice President said the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration places much premium on the review of the Constitution and urged the Committee to laiase with relevant government agencies, as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to achieve a “wholesome amendment” of the Constitution.