From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed the delay in the release of timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general elections on the delay in the passage of the Electoral Amendment Bill before the National Assembly.
Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, stated this at the first quarterly meeting with political parties in Abuja, yesterday.
He said the commission would be deploying the new electoral technology, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the February 12 Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election.
“On the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before the National Assembly, the commission is encouraged by the senate president’s assurance to give priority attention to the bill when the National Assembly reconvenes from its recess today, and the commitment by the president to assent to the bill as soon as the issue of mode of primaries by political parties is resolved. We look forward to a speedy passage of the bill, which is crucial to our preparations for future elections. As soon as it is signed into law, the commission will quickly release the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election based on the new law.”
Yakubu also gave update on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) saying: “The CVR which commenced in June last year has entered the third quarter. As at yesterday Monday January 17, 2022, a total of 8,260,076 eligible Nigerians commenced the online pre-registration, completed the registration physically or applied for transfer to new voting locations, replacement of their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) or updated their voter information records as required by law.
“The commission has been publishing weekly progress reports of the exercise. We are aware that Nigerians want to know when their PVCs will be available for collection. At the moment, the commission is undertaking the most comprehensive cleaning up of the data to ensure that only eligible citizens are added to the voters’ register for the 2023 general election and will share our findings with Nigerians and the actual dates for the collection of the PVCs nationwide will be announced very soon.”
On Ekiti and Osun governorship election, he said: “Turning to the major end-of-tenure and off-cycle elections, party primaries for the Ekiti State governorship election are scheduled for 4th – 29th January 2022. For the Osun State governorship election, primaries will hold from 16th February to 12th March 2022. In the case of Ekiti State, all the 18 political parties have served the mandatory notices for the primaries. Let me seize this opportunity to draw the attention of parties to the necessity for transparent and rancour-free primaries. Parties should also respect their chosen dates for the primaries based on the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities. Already, many parties have rescheduled their primaries several times.”
While commending the leadership of INEC, National Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Yabagi Yusuf Sani said: “In our capacities as leaders of political parties, we are in good stead to bear testimony to the diligence and efficiency shown by INEC in the distribution of electoral materials and deployment of personnel in the conduct of the November 6, 2021 Anambra State governorship election. We as well, saw the impacts of the unprecedented application of among other technological devices, the Voter Enrollment Device and the BVAS, which cumulatively resulted in the evident smooth conduct of that election and which, at the end of the day, was widely acclaimed by most stakeholders and observers as transparent, credible, free and fair.”