Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, on Friday, attacked the Independent National Electoral Commission, for announcing the dates of 2023 general elections amidst the security challenge facing the country.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had on Wednesday, announced at a one-day public hearing on the National Electoral Offences Commission (Establishment) Bill 2021, organised by the Senate Committee on INEC that the 2023 presidential election would be held on February 23, 2023.
Umahi, who spoke while handing over vehicles procured by the state government to the security agencies and the Ebube-Agu, South-East security outfit at the Governor’s Lodge, Abakaliki, said it was unfortunate that the electoral umpire was talking about the election when the country was at a crossroads.
Umahi said, “Our nation is so much at a crossroads. I was very shocked when people were announcing dates for 2023 elections. It is very unfortunate.
“The nation is quite challenged now. It is not a matter of Mr President or Governor. All leaders must take responsibility at this stage because it is not what you preach in the public that is the issue when we are confronted with a decision that we must secure the future of our children. What do you do with that?”
But Rotimi Oyekanmi, the spokesperson for the INEC chairman, said the date for the 2023 general election was based on the principle that INEC established back in 2018.
He said, “The INEC chairman’s reference to the date for the 2023 general election was based on the principle that INEC established back in 2018. At that time, the commission decided that in order to engender certainty, the general election in Nigeria will always take place on the third Saturday of February of the election year. This means that in 2023, 2027, 2031, 2035 and so on, Nigerians will know that the general election will take place on the third Saturday of February of those respective election years. This is similar to the United States where the presidential election holds in the first week of November of the election year.
“When the INEC chairman appeared at the public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on INEC some days ago, he simply reminded the lawmakers that based on the already established principle (by INEC), the 2023 general election will hold on 18th February 2023. He made this point to underscore the importance of passing the Electoral Law Amendment Bill in good time.”