MEDIA BRIEFING BY THE CHAIRMAN, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC), PROF. MAHMOOD YAKUBU, AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA…ON FRIDAY.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press
1. I am delighted to welcome you to this briefing which is intended to provide an update on the implementation of activities for the 2019 general elections as well as the latest declaration of vacancies that require the Commission to conduct bye-elections.
The Timetable for the 2019 General Elections
Publication of Personal Details of Candidates
2. You will recall that on 9th January 2018, the Commission released the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2019 general elections. Fourteen (14) activities were identified based on the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) as well as the Commission’s guidelines and regulations. Three (3) of the fourteen (14) activities have been implemented. On 17th August 2018, the Commission published the official notice for the 2019 elections nationwide as required by Section 30(1) of the Electoral Act. This was immediately followed by primaries for the nomination of candidates by political parties from 18th August to 7th October 2018. Thereafter, parties submitted the list (Form CF002) as well as personal particulars of candidates (Form CF001) that emerged from the primaries for Presidential and National Assembly elections from 10th – 18th October 2018. The submission of nominations for Governorship and State Assembly elections is ongoing until 2nd November 2018.
3. I wish to provide further clarification on the ongoing publication of the personal particulars of candidates. Each candidate nominated by a political party is required to provide details of his/her personal particulars by personally completing the Form CF001 and to swear an affidavit at the Federal High Court, a High Court of a State or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Within seven (7) days from the close of submission of these documents, the Commission is required to publish the Form in the constituencies that candidates seek to represent as required by Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). This will give the general public the opportunity to view the affidavit of personal particulars of those who aspire to represent them. Any person with reasonable ground to believe that any information on Form CF001 submitted by a candidate contains incorrect or false claims is at liberty to file an action against such candidate at the Federal High Court or the High Court of a State or the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). While the current exercise is limited to candidates for Presidential and National Assembly elections, the personal particulars of those contesting in Governorship and State Assembly elections will be similarly published on 9th November 2018, one week after the close of submission of nominations by political parties.
4. I wish to appeal to the general public to seize this opportunity to view the personal details of the candidates that seek to represent them. The Forms, as completed on oath by the candidates and submitted to the Commission by their political parties, are photocopied and pasted in our State and Local Government offices nationwide. This is an opportunity for citizens to ascertain the personal details of the candidates to enable them take informed decisions on election day or even initiate legal action against candidates who they believe have made false claims on their Forms.
Publication of the National Register of Voters
5. Still as part of the ongoing preparations for the 2019 General Elections, I wish to announce in advance that the register of voters for each polling unit will be displayed at the polling units nationwide for one week from 6th – 12th November 2018 for claims and objections by citizens in accordance with the provision of Section 20 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).
6. Although the Commission has dutifully cleaned up the register using the Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), it is the right of citizens under the law to examine the register and exercise their civic duty by drawing the attention of the Commission to the prevalence of any ineligible persons so that together we can further clean it up. For emphasis, eligibility to register and vote in Nigeria is open only to citizens who have attained the mandatory age of eighteen (18) years and resident in the places they registered. Such citizens must also not register more than once. The Commission will also appreciate the assistance of citizens in identifying deceased persons on the register so that such names can be nulled from our record. It is also an opportunity to correct misspellings of personal details such as names, age and gender.
7. I wish to once again place on record that the voter register is robust. It is also the largest data base of citizens in Nigeria containing names, photographs and biometric details. It is a national asset that should be protected and perfected. Ownership of the register by citizens and their involvement in cleaning it up is crucial to our electoral process. I urge citizens to help the Commission during the display. Full details of the procedure for collecting citizens observations will be released shortly.
8. Recently, the Commission received declaration of vacancies that require us to conduct bye-elections. Following the election of two serving members of the House of Representatives as Senators in bye-elections conducted on 11 August 2018, the Honourable Speaker has declared consequential vacancies in the Toro Federal Constituency in Bauchi State and the Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa Federal Constituency in Katsina State. Similarly, the Cross River State House of Assembly has declared vacancy in Ikom II State Constituency following the death of the member representing the Constituency. Consequently, the Commission will conduct bye-elections in the three (3) constituencies. We have directed our Resident Electoral Commissioners in Bauchi, Katsina and Cross River State to convene stakeholders’ meetings immediately and prepare for the bye-elections latest by Saturday 17th November 2018. Detailed timetable and schedule of activities for the bye-elections will be released on Tuesday next week.
9. The Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that preparations for the 2019 General Elections are proceeding in earnest and according to the detailed timetable and schedule of activities released by the Commission. It is exactly 112 days to the elections. We shall continue to faithfully and consistently implement the timetable and all activities.
10. Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I wish to assure you that going forward, media briefings of this nature on aspects of the Commission’s preparations for the 2019 General Elections and other electoral matters will become more regular. I thank you, as always, for your presence and support.