Presidential elections will hold first in 2019 – INEC

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the electoral body would stick to the current sequence of the 2019 general elections released based on the provision of the existing laws.

Professor Yakubu said this on Monday in Abuja at a regular consultative meeting with the media.

He however admitted that it may change if the laws change.

His words: “On 9th January, we issued the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections based on our powers and extant laws and nothing has changed. There is a principle behind the choice of these dates- as our democracy matures, we should be moving from uncertainty to certainty.

“As far as the Commission is concerned, there is no legal lacuna for now; we are working based on existing laws. But if something happens tomorrow, we will come out clear and tell Nigerians, but I think we are not operating based on conjectures”.

The INEC chairman, who reiterated the concern of the electoral body over what he called “monetization of the electoral process,” said the commission was already working with security agencies to stop the menace.

Professor Yakubu said INEC was optimistic about the conduct of free, fair and credible general elections in view of its continued engagement with critical stakeholders in the electoral process.

He said the commission had finished all the preparatory steps for the 2019 general elections, adding that practical steps had been taken to implement provisions of the Election Project Plan (EPP).

The INEC chairman said the commission was making efforts to ensure that voting process was easier for persons living with disabilities (PWDs), including pregnant and lactating women as well as the aged.

He ruled out the possibility of giving opportunities for underage voters in national elections conducted by the INEC, stressing that the electoral body would do “whatever it takes to clean up the voter register so that only those who are eligible are allowed to vote.”

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