The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections for Saturday, February 16, while the Governorship and State Assembly/Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Council elections have been scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2019.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Prince Solomon Soyebi, at a press briefing held at the Commission’s Headquarters, Abuja.
Prince Soyebi pointed out that the Commission believed that there should be certainty with regards to the timetable for elections as obtained in other countries with advanced democracies. Said he: “in order to ensure certainty in our dates for political parties, security agencies, candidates and all stakeholders, the Commission has decided to fix the date for the National Elections for the third Saturday in February of the election year, followed by State elections two weeks later”.
He continued: “to that extent, the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly Elections will hold on Saturday, 16th February 2019, while the Governorship/State Assembly/Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections will hold on Saturday 2nd March 2019”.
INEC has also decided to place all 23 Electoral Officers who served in the December 10, 2016 Rivers re-run elections on interdiction.
The decision came against the back drop of the report received from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) informing the Commission that the 23 Electoral Officers indicted in the Rivers Re-run elections have been charged to court.
Prince Soyebi explained that: “The Commission has repeatedly said that it will cooperate with security agencies for the prosecution of any of our staff found to have violated the integrity of the electoral process”.
He continued: “accordingly, at our meeting today, the Commission decided to apply the provisions of the INEC Terms and Conditions of Service to all those charged to court, since it constitutes gross misconduct. The penalty for this is interdiction. All the 23 Electoral Officers will be placed on half salary and will not report for duty pending the determination of their respective cases by the court”.
On the recommendation by the Disciplinary Committee on staff indicted by the EFCC Report for misconduct during the 2015 General Elections, the IVEC Chairman explained that the Commission has decided to defer its decision on the EFCC Report to enable it reconcile with the DPP report. This he said was in view of the fact that some of the staff were also among those being prosecuted by the DPP.
Prince Soyebi, used the opportunity to announce the scheduled dates for the Commission’s routine quarterly consultations with stakeholders as follows:
- Tuesday, 14th March has been scheduled for meeting with Political Parties.
- Wednesday, 15th March has been scheduled for meeting with Civil Society Organizations
- Friday, 17th March has been scheduled for the meeting with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES)
- Monday, March 21st March is the day scheduled for meeting with Media organizations.