By Suleiman Umaru
For weeks, Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and his Commissioners, have been on President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Amy General, to sign the much awaited Electoral Amendment Act bill, 2022, passed by the National Assembly last January and forwarded to him, to sign into Law.
Twice the Katsina state born Nigerian President had disappointed the Commission by not assenting to the Electoral Amendment Act Bill, 2022, into Law, forcing the officials to go back to the drawing board to redraw their plan of action. But on Friday, February, 24, 2022, the waiting game appeared to have ended as the Katsina state born Nigerian President assented to the Electoral Amendment Act bill, which was said to have given the INEC, officials the ammunition to set the stage for full preparation for the 2023, general elections as spelt out in the Electoral Law.
As a prelude to implementing the provisions of the new Electoral Act, top officials of the Commission had met on Saturday, February 25, 2025, where far –reaching decisions that will guide the 2023, general elections reached. The Commission had adjusted the previous dates earlier set to conduct the 2023 general elections in line with the provisions of the new Electoral Law.
Going by the INEC new timetable for the 2023 general elections, it has set Monday, 28, 2022, for publication of Notice of the , election to get the parties prepared for it. It has set a date for the parties to conduct their primaries for nomination of Candidates for elective offices between Monday, April 4, 2022 and Friday, June, 2022.
Note that even before the Electoral umpire had set the dates for the parties to conduct and their primaries, one or two of the political parties were said to have already started holding their Conventions at the Ward and state levels to nominate Candidates for the 2023, general elections.
Take for instance, in the south west state of Ekiti, the PDP have held its Ward and state Conventions. The situation is the same in Osun state, where the APC, have held its ward and state Conventions where the governorship, Assembly, House and Senatorial Candidates, have emerged ahead of the 2023, general elections.
But Nigerians are waiting to see the parties to conduct their National Conventions, to nominate their respective Presidential Candidates for the 2023, general election. Indeed, the assent of the Electoral Amendment Act, Bill 2022, on Friday, February 24, 2022, by the Katsina state, born Nigerian President, may have put the parties on a high jump as INEC, has sounded it loud and clear that that the parties must conclude their Ward, state and National Conventions as spelt out in the election guide line . The Commission had said that submission of Presidential and National Assembly nomination forms will start on Friday , June 10, 2022 by 6pm and end on Friday, June 17, 202022, by 6pm.
He is optimistic that the parties would take advantage of the adjusted dates for the general elections both at the state and national level to conduct their primaries and resolve all disputes that may arise from the primaries between April 4, 2022 and June 3, 2022.This may have informed why the parties National Working Committee NWC, are working round the clock to hold their Ward, state and National Conventions to select Candidates for elective offices to beat the INEC deadline.
Perhaps, to avoid truncating their primaries, the Leadership, of the political parties who are not ready to give INEC room to drop any of their nominated Candidates from their various Wards, State and National Congresses , from participating in their respective state and National Conventions , to choose Candidates for the elective offices in the 2023, general elections, on account of petitions by aggrieved Candidates who may have lost in the primaries to the Commission or Court injunction may have intervened to save the situation.
They, were said to have started talking to the Candidates who were said to have signified interest to contest the primaries to be good sports men and womenby accepting the outcome of the Wards, state and National Conventions without heading to Court to contest the result but allow the party to settle the disputes internally.
This may have given some of the front-tline Presidential Candidates of the Ruling APC, and the PDP, to know that there is no more time to waste but to hasten efforts to mobilise their foot soldiers, to crisscross the nooks and crannies of the country, to reach out to their party members to seek their support in preparation for their National Convention to avoid running into stormy waters.
The APC, has fixed its National Convention to t nominate its Presidential Candidate on March 26, 2022. The party had initially fixed fixed February 26, 2022, to hold the Convention but had to make a U-turn and rescheduled it to March 26, 20222.
Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, during the eight years of Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration, between 1999 and 2007, and who had had made several attempts to run for the Presidency by participating at different times in the APC and PDP, Presidential primaries at different but lost, though, got the PDP, Ticket in 2019, is back to the trenches, to slug it out with other Candidates, in the party yet to be fixed Convention.
Atiku, the north east state of Adamawa, born Politician, appears to have known that his is his last opportunity of making any attempt to rule Nigerian that he had moved to settle his political differences with former President Obasanjo, who was said to have worked against him in the 2019, general elections, that saw the emergence of Buhari, as the Nigerian President.
It was not surprising why he had visited the ex-President in his Abeokuta, Capital of Ogun state home, to seek his support. Political Observers believe that the visit was not unconnected with the 2023 general elections and to intimate him about his ambition to run for the Presidency on the Platform of the PDP. Although, the former Nigerian President has resigned from active politics ,to play the role of adviser to those seeking elective office, but Atiku still believes that he wields much influence in the Opposition PDP, as he could still turn the table in his favour.
Meanwhile, INEC, has set the Commencement of electioneering Campaigns by the party Presidential and National Assembly Candidates to kick-start on Wednesday , September 28, 2022 and end on February 23, 2023 while the Commencement for the political parties governorship and state Assembly elections will begin will begin on midnight, October 12, 2022 and close on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
According to the INEC helmsman, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will now hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, while the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections will hold on March 11, 2023 .Prof. Yakubu, the INEC boss, the new date for the 2023 , general elections is ‘’to allow for uniformity with the provisions of the new Electoral Laws which stipulates that elections Notice be published at least 260 days before elections’’
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