26th February 2022
The 2023 General Election will commence with the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on Saturday 25th February 2023, to be followed by the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday 11th March 2023.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who revealed the new dates at a briefing in Abuja today, said the Commission decided to adjust the dates to comply with the brand-new Electoral Act 2022.
The Commission had, back in 2017, established fixed dates for General Elections in Nigeria in its determination to create certainty in the electoral calendar and to enable all stakeholders in the electoral process to prepare adequately for elections.
Prof. Yakubu recalled that by that decision, Presidential and National Assembly elections shall hold on the third Saturday of February of each General Election year, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections shall follow two weeks later.
Based on this principle, the 2023 General Election had earlier been scheduled to commence on Saturday 18th February 2023. “However, the Commission could not release the detailed Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the General election as it normally would, because of the pending enactment of the Electoral Act 2022, “Prof. Yakubu observed. “The Bill has now been signed into law.”
The INEC Chairman continued: “Therefore, the Electoral Act 2022, together with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), form the legal basis for conducting all elections in Nigeria. In particular, the Electoral Act provides strict timelines for the implementation of electoral activities based on the date of the General Election. One of the significant timelines is the publication of Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the day appointed for holding an election which has now lapsed for the 2023 General Election.
He continued: “Consequently, the Commission has decided to adjust the dates of the 2023 General Election to ensure compliance with the provisions of the new law. Accordingly, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 while the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023. With this adjustment, the 2023 General Election is now 363 days away.
Prof. Yakubu also listed the critical activities in the timetable and their implementation dates thus:
The INEC Chairman said the Notice of Election would be published in the Commission’s offices in all states of the federation on Monday 28th February.
He averred: “With the coming into force of the Electoral Act 2022, the Commission will work assiduously to conclude and publish new Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Electionsthat are consistent with the Act. These Regulations and Guidelines as well as Manuals issued by the Commission are all part of the legal regulatory framework for elections. Their timely publication will enable all stakeholders in the electoral process to become conversant with their provisions as they prepare for the 2023 General Election.”
He added: “On this note, I wish to remind stakeholders, especially the political parties, of their responsibility to adhere strictly to the timelines in this Timetable and Schedule of Activities, as well as all other timelines established by the Commission. It is necessary that all political parties comply with the extant legal framework, ensure proper organisation and management of party primaries and the nomination of qualified candidates in order to prevent unnecessary litigations and rancour.”