The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) rules out postponing 2019 general elections because of the delay in the passage of its budget.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, clarified it while fielding questions from State House correspondents on Friday in Abuja.
He said that there was no apparent reason to postpone elections.
“I have repeated this; under section 26 of the Electoral Act, there are no conditions stipulated for elections to be postponed.
“The date is fixed, February 16, 2019. We have issued the timetable one year ahead and it has never been like this before which will be the very first time in the history of our nation, Nigerians know when elections will take place one year in advance.
“Secondly, for the very first time in the history of our country, citizens know the budget of the electoral commission; citizens know finer details about the commission proposed; how the funds allocated will be spent.
“I think I am extremely pleased with this process.’’ He said that as provided in the constitution, INEC had, since April 27, 2017, been registering voters consistently in response to the appeal by Nigerians.
Yakubu said that INEC had created more centres for the registration but finally decided that it should suspend the process as provided for by the law, six months to the elections.
He said however that in response to the appeal by Nigerians, again, INEC extended the exercise to the end of August.
“As at Saturday last week – Aug. 11- we have registered 12.1 million citizens; this will eventually be added to the 70 million voters that are already registered for the 2019 general elections.
“We have voters register of over 80 million citizens.
“Let me make state this clearly; registration is going to take place between 9am in the morning and 5pm daily including weekends but excluding the public holiday. You know Tuesday and Wednesday next week have been declared public holidays.
“The second important thing to make it clear is that the end of the continuous voters’ registration is Aug. 31 but that does not mean the end of the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
“Issuance of PVCs will continue until at least one week to the general election in February 2019,’’ he said.
The INEC boss said he was not worried that the virement for the conduct of 2019 election was still before the National Assembly as he remained positive on the outcome.
He said he had effected changes clarified by the National Assembly asked for; adding the two committees on INEC had expressed satisfaction on his clarifications.
He said he looked forward to seeing what the National Assembly would say on it.