Details of the process leading to the 2015 general elections emerged on Saturday with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) fixing October 2-11 2014 for primaries by the parties contesting the polls.
The commission had announced last Friday that the Presidential and National Assembly Elections would hold on February 14 to be followed on February 28 by the governorship and state assembly polls.
INEC expects that any dispute arising from the primaries will be resolved before elections.
According to the details made public yesterday by the Commission’s Secretary, Augusta Ogakwu, the official register of voters will be published on January 13 2015 while list of nominated candidates for Presidential and National Assembly election will published on the same day.
The parties are due to submit the nomination forms of their Presidential and National Assembly candidates not later than January 6, 2015 while those for the governorship and state Houses of Assembly should be received by the commission latest on January 20 2015.
The list of nominated candidates for governorship and state Houses of Assembly will be published on January 17, 2015.
Publication of notice of poll for all election will be displayed on January 18, 2015.
The commission slated November 4-11 2014 for the collection of forms for all elections by the political parties.
The deadline for the submission of Forms CF001 and CF002 at the INEC headquarters for all elections is December 18, 2014 for Presidential and National Assembly elections and December 25, 2014 for governorship and State Assembly Elections.
The parties have up till December 30, 2014 for the withdrawal by candidates/replacement of withdrawn candidates for Presidential and National Assembly elections and January 13 for governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Publication of personal particulars of candidates (CF001) for Presidential and National Assembly is December 25, 2014 while that of governorship and State Assembly elections will be done on January 1, 2015.
In the same vein, the parties are required to submit the names of their agents for the Presidential/National Assembly elections to electoral officers at local government area/ area council level by January 29, 2015 and for the governorship/State Assembly elections by February 12, 2015.
Campaigns in respect of the Presidential/National Assembly elections are to run from November 16, 2014 to February 12,2015.
For the governorship/State Assembly candidates, their campaigns are permitted from November 30, 2014 to February 26, 2015.
Candidates in the June 2014 election in Ekiti State are free to start campaigning from March 23. Forms for the election will be available for collection from April 1.
Party primaries, including resolution of disputes arising from them, should not be later than April 14.
The last day for the submission of Forms CF001 and CF002 at INEC headquarters is April 21 while the commission will publish the personal particulars of candidates on April 28.
INEC sources however said that the commission would be strict in ensuring compliance with the restriction on campaign, warning that the release of the timetable should not in any be seen as a licence to commence campaign.
“What we have done is to announce the timetable in line with our constitutional mandate. At least, Nigerians now have a picture of our plans. We hope that will reduce agitation for our schedule.
“By Sections 76, 178, 116 and 132 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and Section 26 of the Electoral Act, 2010, dates of elections are to be appointed by the Commission.
“All the parties should not make the mistake of assuming that we have directed them to flag off their campaign,” said an INEC source.
The source said that Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) is explicit that campaign can only start 90 days to any poll. “The Act says ‘For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.’
“Anything outside this would be a violation of the law and the Commission may apply appropriate sanctions against culprits as provided by relevant sections of the law.
“So, you can see that the campaign for presidential, governorship, National Assembly and State Assembly elections would have to begin from around November 17 and thereafter.”
It was also gathered that INEC may allow only people with the Permanent Voter’s Cards to vote during the 2015 elections.
The commission is likely the experiment this with the Ekiti governorship poll in June and the Osun governorship election in August. “We are contemplating the use of the Permanent Voters’ Cards for the 2015 poll. Do not forget that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in April last year approved contract of about N2.6billion for the printing of 40 million cards as part of the First Phase.”
The contract was awarded to Art Technology Limited with the technical partner “Obature” in France at the cost of N65 per card.
The commission plans to replace all the 73.5million temporary voters’ cards issued for the 2011 general elections as part of the strategy to check rigging and multiple voting.