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Published On: Tue, Jan 9th, 2018

Press statement by INEC chairman, Mahmood on 2019 polls

STATEMENT AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HONOURABLE CHAIRMAN OF THE INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU ON THE RELEASE OF THE TIMETABLE AND SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES FOR THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS HELD AT THE CONFERENCE ROOM, INEC HEADQUARTERS, ABUJA, ON TUESDAY 9““ JANUARY 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press

1. You will recall that on 9th March 2017, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the dates for the 2019 General Elections. In a clear departure from past practice when dates were announced close to elections, the Commission decided that henceforth our Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on the 3rd Saturday Of the month of February of each election year, while Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later. When the end of tenure of the FCT Area Councils coincide with the general election, the FCT Council elections are to be combined with the Governorship and State Assembly elections. By these decisions, the Commission fixed Saturday 16th February 2019 as the date for Presidential and National Assembly elections while Govemorship and State Assembly elections will hold on Saturday 2nd March 2019. Since the end of tenure of FCT Chairmen and Councillors will end in 2019, the Area Council elections will also hold on Saturday 2nld March 2019. Consequently, while other Nigerians elect their Governors and Members of State Assemblies, citizens in the FCT will elect Chairmen and Councillors for the Area Councils.

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2. The decision of the Commission to fix election dates is to engender certainty in our electoral calendar and to enable all stakeholders to prepare adequately for elections, as is the case in many mature and developing democracies. Already, the Commission has concluded its Strategic Plan and the Strategic Plan of Action for the current electoral cycle and beyond covering the period 2017-2021 as well as Election Project Plan. The Commission is moving away from the culture Of quick fix, tire brigade approach to the management of elections in Nigeria. As our democracy matures, the planning and implementation of electoral activities should be predictable and systematic. This is all the more pertinent given the size and population of the country, the terrain, logistical requirements, the increasing number of political parties, security challenges and number of constituencies for which elections are to be held. For instance, in 2019 the Commission will conduct elections for 1,558 Constituencies made up of one Presidential Constituency, 29 Govemorship constituencies out of 36 (7 Govemorship elections are staggered and conducted off-cycle), 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies, 991 State Assembly Constituencies, 6 Area Council Chairmen as well as 62 Councillorship positions for the FCT.

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3. The sequence of polls begins with the Presidential and National Assembly elections, followed by Governorship, State Assembly and PCT Area Council elections.

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