BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the Guidelines and Regulations will be ready 10 months ahead of the general elections as a result of the early passage and assent to the amendment to the Electoral Act.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, gave the hint, when he received a delegation from John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, led by its President, John Palfrey, at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja.
The INEC Chairman recalled that In 2019, the Commission was constrained by time due to the uncertainty that trailed the electoral legal framework which saw the Commission signing off on the Regulations and Guidelines on the 19th of January, 2019, few weeks to the election.
He said “but we hope that this time around we will sign off on the Regulations and Guidelines at least 10 months before the next general election, which is very good progress for us”.
Harping on the new Electoral Act 2022, Prof. Yakubu said “the Electoral Act has been repealed and re-enacted. It was not just a question of amendment, the amendments were so extensive, so eventually the National Assembly repealed and re-enacted the electoral act”. He added that “this is the 3rd time since 1999, where the country is repealing and re-enacting the Electoral Act”.
Speaking further on the Commission’s source of power to develop the Guidelines and Regulations, the INEC Chairman said “we are happy with the assent, we now have a new electoral law, on the bases of which we commenced work on the Regulations and Guidelines. The Electoral Act cannot say everything, so the National Assembly donates part of its power to INEC to make Regulations and Guidelines and these Regulations and Guidelines have forms of subsidiary legislation.
He further disclosed that “we have virtually finished the processes. Our Election Project Plan (EPP) is ready and about to be published, the Strategic Plan is already completed and published, and we also publish and gazette the Guidelines and send the three documents to the stakeholders and general public next month”.
Earlier in his remarks, the President of John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, John Palfrey, congratulated the Commission for the successes achieved in areas where it made recommendations after 2019 general election.
He said “I wish also to recall having been able to visit in 2019 and we discussed several things that were underway at that time. One was the progress of the Electoral Act, and I’d like to congratulate you on the passage of the Electoral Act. Second, we discussed and encouraged the creation of a new department on Gender and Inclusivity, here at INEC and I congratulate you on the creation of this department and the successful implementation. The third thing we discussed was the creation of new polling units and I understand that these too have been completed and that you are well in preparation for 2023”.
Palfrey explained that their mission at the Commission was to learn more about INECs plans for the 2023 general election , and “also to thank you for your leadership at the international level and for your partnership with us as we seek to ensure government accountability and anti-corruption in countries around the world with particular focus on Nigeria”.