…says polls will hold as scheduled in February
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday set the ball rolling by issuing a notice of next year’s general elections, with an official saying this was a confirmation that the polls will hold as scheduled in February.
The notice shows that the 2015 elections timetable issued in January remains unchanged, meaning presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on February 14, while governorship and state assembly elections will be on February 28.
Under Section 30 of the Electoral Act, INEC is required to publish a notice of election in each constituency not later than 90 days before the polling day.
Daily Trust could not confirm yesterday if INEC has published the notice in all the constituencies across the country, especially the restive parts of the North East. But the commission has until mid-November to do that under the election law.
The law also requires for the notice to provide the date of the election and the place where nomination papers are to be delivered.
In the notice published yesterday, INEC said “the place of delivery of nomination papers for the elective offices shall be the commission’s headquarters” in Abuja.
In Kano, the INEC Assistant Director for Public Affairs, Alhaji Garba Mohammed, said the commission had pasted the notice of election in the three senatorial districts, 24 federal constituencies and 40 state assembly constituencies.
He said with the publication of the election notice, all doubts as to whether next year’s elections would hold have now been put to rest.
“This singular action has also put to rest the insinuations, reservations or doubt being entertained in some quarters on the possibility of conducting the election,” Mohammed said, quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He added that the purpose of publishing the election notice is to announce the dates of the general election as already contained in the election timetable.
Mohammed said it was also intended to remind members of the public about the dates of the election.
Also in Osogbo, the Osun State INEC spokesperson Mrs Adenike Tadese said in a statement that the election notice had been displayed at the headquarters and local government offices across the state.
With the step taken by the election authorities yesterday, political parties are expected to begin holding their primaries to select candidates for the various elective offices.
The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) have already announced dates for their primaries.
PDP’s presidential primary election is scheduled for December 6, though officials said there would be only an affirmation because President Goodluck Jonathan has already been chosen as sole candidate.
For its part, APC will hold its presidential primaries on December 2.
All parties are expected to submit names of their candidates by mid-December—not later than 60 days to each election, as provided by the law.
In his comments on the notice published yesterday, senior lawyer Ahmed Raji, SAN said with the latest development, the conduct of political parties must be guided by election guidelines.
“All political parties are expected to study the guidelines and comply strictly with the provisions of the guidelines. Guidelines are like laws which are called subsidiary legislations which are details of broad rules and an expansion of the broad rules,” Raji told Daily Trust by telephone.
Under INEC’s guidelines for the 2015 elections, November 16 has been fixed for commencement of campaign by political parties.
The last day for submission of nomination forms is December 18 for presidential and National Assembly elections, while it is January 1 for the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
INEC is to publish list of nominated presidential and National Assembly candidates on January 13, while that of the governorship and State House of Assembly is on January 27.
Collection of nomination forms from INEC for all elections by political parties is scheduled for November 4 to 11.