By Dennis Udoma
UYO – A head of 2019 general elections in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has released possible dates for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
Presidential and National Assembly Elections is to hold on February 16, 2019 while the Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council Elections in the Federal Capital Territory will take place in March 2, 2019.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this at the on-going induction retreat for Resident Electoral Commissioners in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Friday.
He said, the date for the general elections in 2019 has been fixed stating that, from today, 434 days is left for the Presidential Election and National Assembly Elections adding, it is important to always remind the commission’s personnel of this date and to be appraising their preparations.
According to Him, “All participants at this retreat should be aware that from today, the 2019 general elections to begin with the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on 16th February 2019 are exactly 434 days away.
“These will be followed by the Governorship, State and Areas, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory on 2nd March 2019”.
The INEC boss also maintained that, about 3,630,529 new voters had been registered, while the exercise will continue until 60 days to the general elections in 2019 lamenting that, the management and the low rate of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection.
He used the occasion to state that, about 67 political parties are indicating interest to contest in the 2019 general elections, while the commission had received more than 120 applications from political associations seeking registration as political parties.
Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini expressed the hope that, decisions reach at the retreat would act as a road map to for free, fair and credible elections in 2019.
The Country Director of UNDP, Dr Samuel Bwalya who was represented by the Team Leader, Governance and Peace Building, Mr. Kehinde Bolaji described INEC as a pace-setter in elections management in West African sub region, urged the commission to address the issues of violence, internal democracy, accountability and transparency within the political institutions.
Bwala maintained that, without addressing those challenges the expectation of attaining long lasting democratic governance could be disrupted informing that, UNDP would always support the country’s quest in deepening democracy, peace and sustainable development.