WITH President Muhammadu Buhari signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law, yesterday, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will meet, today, to decide on new dates for the 2023 general polls.
Last week, the electoral umpire said the February 18, 2023 date for the presidential poll would be postponed, if the President did not sign the electoral bill into law by last Tuesday, which was exactly 360 days to February 18, 2023 as required by law.
Following President Buhari’s assent to the electoral law, yesterday, an elated INEC said it would hold an extraordinary meeting, today, to deliberate on the way forward for the 2023 polls.
In a statement by Dr. Festus Okoye, national commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, the INEC said:
“Today Friday 25th February 2022, the President of the Federal Republic Nigeria signed the Electoral Bill 2022 into law. This is historic being the fourth time since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999 that the Electoral Act is repealed and re-enacted. It contains many progressive provisions that will facilitate the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.
“The nation now has the Electoral Act 2022 which replaces the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). “Together with the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the new Act constitutes the principal law to govern the conduct of future elections, including the 2023 General Election.
“Given the tight timelines contained in the new law, the Commission fully appreciates the importance of proceeding with their implementation in earnest.
“Consequently, an extraordinary meeting of the Commission is scheduled for tomorrow Saturday 26th February 2022. Thereafter, a statement will be issued on the way forward.”
According to him, the journey to the 2023 general election will be challenging and the Commission will deploy creative, innovative and scientific strategies and initiatives in the discharge of its responsibilities.
“The Commission has commenced preparations for the election. Early, strategic and conscious planning and the deployment of technology are part of the Commissions strategic plan and election project plan. It requires the deployment of technology to obviate human interference in the electoral process.
“Based on the importance and progressive impact of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission has scheduled an extraordinary meeting for Saturday February 26, 2022 to deliberate on issues around the signing of the Electoral Act, 2022, the tight timelines imbedded in the Act, the issuance of Notice for the election as well as the date for the release of the timetable and schedule of activities and other issues ancillary to the release of the Act”, Okoye stated.
He said Saturday’s meeting will determine actions to be taken on the issuance of 2023 electoral timelines.
“The alteration, release and issuance of Timetable and Schedule of Activities are the prerogative of the Commission. The Commission has scheduled an extraordinary meeting for Saturday February 26, 2022 to deliberate on issues around the timelines imbedded in the Act.
“The Commission will also deliberate on the issue of issuance of Notice for the Election as well as the Timetable and Schedule of Activities. The new Law is fundamental and the Commission is convoking an extraordinary meeting to deliberate on its provisions”, Okoye stated.