There are indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is poised for a confrontation with the National Assembly over the sequence of elections in the country.
The commission declared yesterday that the election timetable it earlier released before the National Assembly amended the Electoral Act to change the sequence of the general polls stands.
According to INEC’s timetable, the presidential and National Assembly elections are billed for February 16, while the governorship, State House of Assembly and local government elections will hold on March 2, 2019.
INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who stated this during a quarterly interaction with the media noted that the commission is guided by the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) and the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He said, “Here, we are dealing with certainties. As far as the commission is concern, there is no lacuna in the constitution. As far as we are concern, we are dealing with existing laws. But if eventually the bill is assented to, we will look at the provisions and tell Nigerians what to do.
As far as the situation is concern at the moment, we are operating under an existing law, and we have issued the timetable for the elections accordingly. If there is anything that happened tomorrow, we will then examine what happened tomorrow. We are covered by the provisions of the extant law and the existing provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010”.
Expressing concern over the issue of vote buying, Yakubu assured that steps were being taken to curtail the incident.
He added that INEC was working with the security agencies and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the matter.
The INEC chairman however expressed delight with the passage of the “Not too young to run” bill by some states of the federation, saying it would broaden inclusivity, especially among the youths in elections.
He called for suggestions on increase participation of women and persons with disability in the electoral process.
Yakubu further disclosed that the commission is still waiting for the decisions of State Houses of Assembly on the proposed alteration of the constitution to allow INEC conduct local government elections and independent candidacy.
He assured Nigerians that the commission would do everything possible to clean up the voter register and ensure that henceforth, underage persons do not vote in elections.
“We are committed to credible elections. INEC is committed to electronic transmission of results but there are factors that are not within the immediate reach of the commission”, he noted.